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Hurricane Katrina Stats: Path and Intensity Essay

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Updated: May 20th, 2020


Hurricanes are types of tropical whirlwinds that are formed in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, Eastern Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Hurricanes are inherently accompanied by deluges. In the northern hemisphere, an anticlockwise movement of fast moving air comes close to the earth surface. Hurricanes cause destruction to the areas close to sea or oceans. They also sweep to the mainland causing massive destruction. During the occurrence of hurricanes, these areas experience heavy downpour that cause destruction on property. Hurricanes results in disastrous destruction to seashores and numerous kilometers inland. They have the capacity to cause destruction with winds blowing at more than 250 Kph.

History of hurricanes

In the last one hundred years, hurricanes have led to the flooding of New Orleans 6 times. The flooding occurred in 1915, 1940, 1947, 1965, 1969 and 2005. The region still remains susceptible to hurricanes. New Orleans is always on the path of hurricanes. Virtually, half of the city is above sea level. Prior to the occurrence of Katrina, the mayor of New Orleans issued a compulsory evacuation order. He stated that the superdome would be closed. The ‘Shelter of last resort’ would only avail shelter for the individuals who did not have access to transportation. When Hurricane Sandy occurred, the federal government had been prepared partially and evacuation was successful (Trumbo et al. 1908).

Building Up

The humid depression that resulted into Hurricane Katrina gathered around the Bahamas on 23rd August 2005. Meteorologists had detected the in-building storm and warned the inhabitants to move out of the prospective path of the hurricane. Generally, the meteorologists warned the population to vacate from the areas that they had speculated that the stormed would sweep. Clearing of the residents to safer areas had begun by 28th August 2005. The National Weather Service, unfortunately, reported that the areas that would be hit by the hurricane would remain uninhabitable for weeks or even longer.


Hurricane Katrina occurred in 2005 on the Gulf Coast of the US. The hurricane moved at more than 140 miles per hour on Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. It covered an area of more than 640 kilometers in length. Typically, this is coverage of more than two states across. The hurricane forced the authorities to evacuate hundred thousands of the population living in the affected area. The areas included Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Research into the incident indicates that the hurricane resulted in over $100 billion in destruction. The storm that accompanied the hurricane was as high as 9 meters. It overwhelmed New Orleans’ embankments and drainages. By the morning of August 29 2005, water had leaked into the soil beneath the levees. Most of the embankments were swept away. Places that laid low including St. Bernard Parish were submerged (Luft 501).

The number of people who did not have the means of transportation were aided by the government through national transportation. However, the federal government was slow in meeting the expectations of the people. Efforts were made by the authorities in evacuating New Orleans 80% of the population. The authorities managed to evacuate more than 111,200. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had days to institute operations in New Orleans. More than 2,000 people died during the storm. Billions worth of property was destroyed.


The previous day before Katrina hit the Gulf region, the mayor of New Orleans issued the maiden compulsory evacuation order. He stated that the incident would have a lasting history on the Gulf. He pronounced that the Superdome would only act as the ‘last resort’ for those who could not afford private means to evacuate.

Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of the US on 29 August 2005. When the gale hit, it was recorded as Category 5 on Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.. The storm was encompassed of 160 to 256 kph. The hurricane stretched more than 650 kilometers. The hurricane did significant amount of damage. However, the consequences of the storm were more pronounced. There was total destruction of levees. The breach on the levee against any kind of tsunami was devastating. There was massive flooding. The Katrina victims claimed that the federal government was sluggish in meeting the needs of the affected persons.

Affected Areas

New Orleans was at specific risk from hurricane Katrina. Half of the city is above sea level. It is virtually surrounded by water. During the 20th century, the Army Corps had been constructing levees to ensure that the city was not flooded with the average elevation at 6 feet below sea level. The embankments along the Mississippi River were robust and well-made. However, the embankments that were meant to restrain Lake Pontchartrain and the swamplands to the east and west were less dependable. Prior to the storm, the authorities were concerned that the embankments that had been built on sand were permeable and would be easily worn out. The areas that were below sea level were the most vulnerable Harvatt 64). These areas were inhabited by New Orleans’ underprivileged population particularly blacks and Latinos.

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy also referred to as Frankenstorm occurred along the Caribbean. It swept the East Coast in October 2012. Sandy left a fatality of dozens. Thousands were pronounced homeless while millions were left without electricity. There was a complete damage of property in billions of dollars.


Hurricane Sandy had not been anticipated to cause the devastation that resulted. Actually, the direction that the storm took was not anticipated. The fact that the storm generated from different categories was not expected. Essentially, it was expected that the storm would settle at sea. Unfortunately, it moved into the mainland. The meteorological department did not foresee the storm moving into the mainland. There was major economic impact arising from Hurricane Sandy. There was disruption in the oil industry. The oil industry has since been alerted on the effects of potential hurricane. In the Gulf of Mexico, oil production decreased by more the 1.5 million barrels. Gasoline price increased by a record high of more than triple the usual price as the production capacity drove the prices.


The fatality that resulted from Sandy was 149. Confirmed fatality comprised 42 individuals in New York. 12 deaths occurred in New Jersey. 9 fatalities occurred in Maryland and 6 in Pennsylvania. Other fatalities occurred in West Virginia, Connecticut, Virginia and North Carolina. In Canada, there was demise of one person. In the Caribbean, sixty-seven individuals died. There was death of fifty-four people in Haiti.

The storm began as a tropical wave along the Caribbean. It rapidly generated into a steamy depression. Eventually, it became a tropical gale. Sandy was termed as the 18th storm in 2012 alone. On October 24th 2012, the weathermen elevated the gale into a hurricane. The speed had risen to 119 kilometers per hour. It swept through the Caribbean and landed heavily in Jamaica. It swept through the open waters and graduated to Category 2. It hit Cuba at Category 1 and declined. The Bahamas was also hit by the storm. Households in New York and New Jersey were destroyed. Tens of thousands of homes were destroyed. The transportation system was completely destroyed. There was massive shortage of gas. The infrastructure was destroyed with power supply becoming an extensive challenge. More than eight million households were without power for weeks after the storm occurred.

Affected Regions

On October 27 2012, Sandy gained strength and turned north toward the coast of USA. It made its maiden landfall on US at 2000hrs. It struck Atlantic City in New Jersey at 128 kilometers per hour. The full moon resulted in high tides twenty percent than was expected. This enlarged the hurricane’s surge. Virtually all roads were flooded. Trees and power lines were bashed down. The boardwalk was torn apart. On Jersey’s shore, the residents were stranded in their houses. They waited for the authorities to evacuate them. The New York urban area was burning. In Queens, a hundred houses were hit by lightning and caught fire.

The Lower Manhattan was under water. The low-lying streets were flooded. The water resulting from the storm subdued substations. All the power systems that supply Wall Street were struck down. Patients in hospitals scrambled for safety. In Staten Island, a huge tanker vessel grounded. Towers wavered and rasped in gales that partly knocked down a hoist seventy-four stories high.

On September 26, 2005, former FEMA chief Michael Brown attested before a Supreme House subcommittee regarding the authority’s response. Representative Stephen Buyer questioned the reason to President Bush’s declaration of state of emergency on August 27 with the exclusion of the coastline districts of Orleans, Jefferson, and Plaquemines. Actually, the declaration was devoid of any of Louisiana’s coastline districts. On the contrary, the coastline districts were inclusive in the declarations for Mississippi and Alabama. Brown affirmed that the reason was due to Louisiana Governor Blanco’s failure to include those districts in the preliminary appeal for aid. Brown stated that the decision was “shocking.”

Upon the completion of the hearing, Blanco made public a copy of her letter to the president. It indicated that she had actually asked for aid for “all the south-eastern districts comprising the City of New Orleans”. She specifically named fourteen districts including Jefferson, Orleans and Plaquemines for evacuation aid.


At some point, Sandy had increased to 280 kilometers per hour. The tropical storm-force had built to 780 kph. The hurricane’s strength had accumulation and angle of attack increasing towards New York. The hurricane created a variety of interruptions considering that the country was in a state of political campaign. President Obama had to accompany New Jersey governor Chris Christie on an inspection tour. They inspected the New Jersey coastline. They travelled on Air Force One to inspect the flooded neighborhoods. The impact of the flood made the president to declare a state of emergency in New York and New Jersey. This allowed federal assistance to flow into these areas.

The Republicans were not spared either. Mitt Romney had to cancel his political campaigns on October 29th and 30th. He converted a campaign address into a ‘storm relief’ event. Essentially, Romney made non-political annotations about Hurricane Sandy. This indicated the extent that the country was experiencing from the effects of the hurricane. The political campaigns resumed on November 1st.

The aftermath

In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled the New York City Rapid Repairs program to facilitate the reconstruction of homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The program required homeowners to register with the authorities. They did not have to reach into their pockets to fund the reconstruction. The federal government had not adequately prepared for the effects of Hurricane Katrina. State governments with the assistance of the federal government put strategies in place to assist resident resume their normal lives.

Hurricanes often cause disruptions with many tourist sites being shut down. There is massive effect on the economy as financial activities are affected. There is always destruction of the infrastructure resulting in reconstruction of the same. This requires the tax payers to be charged more to rebuild not only the economy but also the infrastructure (Greenberg 48).


The effects of hurricanes have been felt in the US since 1900. Among the major hurricanes that have left significant impact on the population include Hurricane Katrina and Sandy. The effects left on the population are far-reaching. New Orleans is among the places that are affected by storms and hurricanes. The hurricanes leave the communities more desperate as federal assistance is limited. Hurricane Katrina left more than 2,000 fatalities while hundreds were injured as they awaited transportation assistance from authorities. Fatalities arise from broken levees while winds cause havoc on landmarks including huge buildings. Hurricane Sandy did not cause as much havoc compared to the effects of Hurricane Katrina since the government had put evacuation strategies in place following the massive destruction of Hurricane Katrina.

Works Cited

Greenberg, Miriam. “The Disaster Inside the Disaster: Hurricane Sandy and Post-crisis Redevelopment.” New Labor Forum, 23.1(2014): 44-52. Print.

Harvatt, Petts. “Understanding Householder Responses to Natural Hazards: Flooding and Sea-Level Rise Comparisons.” Journal of Risk Research, 14.1 (2011): 63–83. Print.

Luft, Rachel. “Beyond Disaster Exceptionalism: Social Movement Developments in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.” American Quarterly, 61.3 (2009): 499-527. Print.

Trumbo, Craig et al. “The Effect of Proximity to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on Subsequent Hurricane Outlook and Optimistic Bias.” Risk Analysis, 31.12 (2011): 1907-1918. Print.

Waple, Anne. Hurricane Katrina, Asheville, NC, 2005. Print.

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