KATRINA — MOST DESTRUCTIVE HURRICANE EVER TO STRIKE THE
August 28, 2005, Hurricane Katrina was in the Gulf of Mexico
where it powered up to a Category 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson
hurricane scale packing winds estimated at 175 mph.
a.m. EDT on August 29, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southern
Plaquemines Parish Louisiana, just south of Buras, as a Category
3 hurricane. Maximum winds were estimated near 125 mph to the east
of the center.
Katrina will be recorded as the most destructive storm in terms
of economic losses, it did not exceed the human losses in storms
such as the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, which killed as many as
6,000-12,000 people, and led to almost complete destruction of coastal
Galveston. (Click image on left for high resolution version.)
Andrew, in 1992, cost approximately $21 billion in insured losses
(in today's dollars), whereas estimates from the insurance industry
as of late August 2006, have reached approximately $60 billion in
insured losses (including flood damage) from Katrina. The storm
could cost the Gulf Coast states as much as an estimated $125 billion.
Hundreds of NOAA employees from many divisions of the agency were
involved with Hurricane Katrina, which involved forecasting the
storm; surveying and clearing waterways; responding to oil and chemical
spills; and testing fisheries.
During the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, the NOAA P-3 turboprop
aircraft flew around and into 11 named storms—including Katrina—accounting
for 73 missions, which translates into 480 flight hours. The P-3s
also flew into the eyewall of the storms 109 times.
Gulfstream IV jet flew 50 missions, for a total 389 flight hours.
Citation aircraft flew 50 aerial photography missions after Hurricanes
Katrina, Ophelia and Rita, which amounted to 105 flight hours and
thousands of high resolution photos of the storms’ damage.