Hurricane Katrina Facts

Here are some facts about Hurricane Katrina, the massive hurricane that devastated Louisiana in 2005.

  • Hurricane Katrina was one of the 5 worst storms in US history, and the worst hurricane of the 2005 season. It was also the country’s most expensive natural disaster.

  • The hurricane formed over the Bahamas and gained strength in the Gulf of Mexico. It affected the states along the gulf, from Florida to Texas, but most notably Louisiana, before continuing up the east coast.
  • Between 23 August and 31 August, when it dissipated, Hurricane Katrina actually made landfall three times, in Florida and in Louisiana. In total, it affected an area of about 90,000 square miles.
  • Hurricane Katrina was the strongest hurricane recorded in the Gulf region, at that time. At one point, the winds were measured at close to 175 mph.
  • Over 1,800 people died as a result of the storm. Hundreds of other people were forced to move to other cities.
  • Hurricane Katrina directly caused massive amounts of property damage to the state of Mississippi, whereas Louisiana was devastated by flood waters as its levee system failed. This took place after the storm had moved further inland.
  • New Orleans was one of the areas most affected, with about 80 percent of the city flooded, and 900,000 people without electricity. The cost of the hurricane in Louisiana and Mississippi was more than $150 billion.
  • The storm surge from Hurricane Katrina was so great that it reached 12 miles inland. In Biloxi, a floating casino barge was washed up on top of a hotel by the rushing waters.
  • The storm also caused a lot of debris to be piled up. If all the debris was stacked together in an area the size of a football field, it would make a pile 10 miles high.
  • In preparation for the hurricane, the first ever mandatory evacuation of New Orleans was ordered. About 26,000 residents sheltered in the huge Louisiana Superdome, where they were given food and water.
  • After the hurricane hit, over 60 countries around the world promised money to help with rebuilding. The biggest contribution came from Kuwait, which pledged $500 million.

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