Hurricane Katrina Case Study

Case study of Hurricane Katrina including:

  • Pictures of Devastation
  • Satellite maps of progression
  • Wind speed map
  • Physical Impacts
  • Human Impacts
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ORIGIN Hurricanes can create tornadoes. Thirty-three tornadoes were
produced by Hurricane Katrina over a five-day period, although
Hurricane Katrina originated as Tropical Depression 12 over the South- only one person died due to a tornado which affected Georgia.
eastern Bahamas on 23rd August, 2005, as the result of an interaction of a
tropical wave (an elongated area of relatively low pressure, which moves
from East to West across the tropics causing areas of cloudiness and thun-
derstorms) and the remains of Tropical Depression 10 (A tropical wave that
emerged from the West Coast of Africa). On the morning of 24 th August, the Over 1,600 deaths in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi
Depression was upgraded to Tropical Storm status, at which point it was giv- and Florida.
en the name Katrina. The Tropical Storm continued to move towards Florida,
and finally became a hurricane 2 hours before it made landfall in Florida. Alt- Thousands of homes and businesses destroyed.
This satellite picture shows Katrina gaining inten-
House and Car destroyed by the Hurricane hough the storm weakened over land, it regained Hurricane status about one Criminal gangs roamed the streets, looting homes and sity as it passes over the Gulf of Mexico. It gained
hour after entering the Gulf of Mexico. businesses and committing other crimes. intensity here because of the warm waters of the
Thousands of jobs lost and millions of dollars in lost tax Loop current, which generated a Hurricanes fa-
incomes. vourite ingredient, convection.
Agricultural production was damaged by tornadoes and
flooding. Cotton and sugar-cane crops were flattened.
After the storm entered the Gulf, it rapidly intensified from a Category 3 Hurri- Three million people were left without electricity for over a
cane, to a Category 5 in just 9 hours. This rapid growth was due to the warm week.
waters of the Loop Current, which generated convection. On 27 th August, the Tourism centres were badly affected.
storm reached Category 3 intensity. An eye wall replacement cycle (where
the outer eye wall slowly moves inwards and robs the inner eye wall's mois-
A significant part of the USA oil refining capacity was dis-
ture and angular momentum) disrupted the intensification, but caused the rupted after the storm due to flooded refineries and broken
storm to nearly double its size. Katrina again rapidly intensified, and moves pipelines, and several oil rigs in the Gulf were damaged.
up to Category 5 status on the morning of 28 thAugust. This is the day it Major highways were disrupted and some major road
reached its peak strength, with winds of up to 175 mph. Katrina made its se- bridges were destroyed.
Flooded New Orleans street cond landfall on the morning of 29th August, as a Category 3 Hurricane with Many people have moved to live in other parts of the USA
winds of 125 mph in Louisiana. After moving over South-eastern Louisiana and many may never return to their original homes.
and Breton Sound, it made its third landfall near the Louisiana/Mississippi
border, still at Category 3 intensity with winds of 120 mph. The Hurricane As you can see from the pictures on the left, as well as the This second satellite picture shows the moment
maintained strength well into Mississippi, finally losing Hurricane strength physical and human impacts I have listed, Hurricane Katrina when Katrina's eye slammed into the
more than 150 miles inland near Meridian, North East Central Mississippi. It did have a catastrophic affect on the whole of the United Plaquemine's Parish of New Orleans.
was downgraded to a Tropical Depression when it entered Tennessee, but its States. It lasted for a total of 7 days and cost the US $81.2 bil-
remnants were last distinguishable in the Great Lakes region on 31 st August, lion in total. Understandably, some States in the US had more
when it was absorbed by a frontal boundary. The resulting mid-latitude cy- damage than others. In Louisiana, Katrina killed 1577 people,
clone moved rapidly to the Northeast and affected Eastern Canada. compared to Kentucky, where only one person died as a result
of the hurricane. It was one of the five deadliest hurricanes in
the history of the United States, as well as being the sixth
strongest hurricane overall in the Atlantic.
The Eye of Hurricane Katrina
As you can see from the pictures on the left, Hurricane Katrina caused mas-
Boat on top of a house sive amounts of damage, from destroyed cars to deaths and destruction of
houses. However, the types of physical impacts can be categorised into the
Hurricanes cause the sea level around them to rise, which is known as a This final sequence satellite image shows the eye
storm surge. Hurricane Katrina tracked over the Gulf of Mexico and hit New of the hurricane crossing the New Orleans/
Orleans, a coastal city with huge areas below sea level which were protected Mississippi Border
by defence walls, called levees. The Hurricanes storm surge, combined with
huge waves generated by the wind, pushed up water levels around the city. As you can see from the
The levees were overwhelmed by the extra water, with many collapsing com- wind speed map on the left,
pletely. This allowed water to flood into New Orleans, and up to 80% of the the highest winds were
city was flooded to depths of up to 6 metres. Katrina also produced a lot of achieved over the Gulf of
rainfall, which also contributed to the flooding. Mexico, due to the warm
sea level temperatures katrina/html/landfall.stm
STRONG WINDS which made the hurricane
The strongest winds during 25th- 30th August were over the coastal areas of intensify. This then had a
Louisiana and Florida. A map of the maximum wind speeds which were rec- major impact on Louisiana,
orded during the Hurricane Katrina episode is shown on the right. Although in particular New Orleans, Climate and Environmental Systems - D.C. Money
the winds did not directly kill many people, it did produce a storm surge over where Katrina first struck
the ocean which led to flooding in coastal areas and was responsible for land. Chris Cartwright - AS Geography Col 5
many deaths. Unit 1.1 - Global Hazards - KVY - 27/10/2009


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