After initially making U.S. landfall on August 25, 2005, in South Florida as a Category 1, Katrina moved into the Gulf of Mexico, rapidly intensified into a Category 5 and made its second landfall early on the morning of August 29 in Plaquemines Parish in Southeast Louisiana as a strong Category 3 with sustained winds of 125 miles-per-hour. After briefly moving over water, it made a third landfall later that morning near the Louisiana-Mississippi border. Katrina weakened as it moved north-northeastward over land but remained a hurricane as far inland as the vicinity of Meridian, MS, a straight distance of more than 130 miles from the coast.
Ultimately, Katrina was responsible for 1,833 deaths and damage estimated at $151 billion, including $75 billion in the New Orleans area and along the Mississippi coast. Katrina was the costliest storm and the third deadliest storm in U.S. history. Based on the size of the area impacted and the number of people affected, Katrina also was one of the largest natural disasters in the history of the United States. Federal disaster declarations issued in the hurricane’s wake covered not only all of the coastal counties of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, but extended well inland to include cities such as Baton Rouge, LA, Jackson, MS and Tuscaloosa, AL.
Over the past decade, researchers have been working steadily to collect and analyze data on the storm’s aftermath, including coastal change, science for recovery and restoration, and census data. Here are just a few examples of the many projects and resources associated with the storm and the first 10 years of post-storm recovery:
- University of Southern Mississippi — Hurricane Katrina Research Collection
- Tulane University — Photosynthesis analysis and carbon credits in wetlands; research towards development of laws and policies that promote sustainable management of water resources
- Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) and Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) — Evaluating the impact of hurricanes and coastal flooding on the Gulf Coast and calculating future hurricane damage
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Change Analysis Program — National Marine Fisheries Service Report to Congress
- Hurricane Katrina Impact Studies — The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the University of New Orleans are cooperating in a research project investigating coastal change that occurred as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
- U.S. Census Bureau — Katrina 10th Anniversary Data focuses on the two areas that received significant damage: the New Orleans metro area and coastal portions of Mississippi.
- National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC) clearinghouse — Focus on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita