Essay On Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina is one of the most catastrophic natural calamities recorded in the U.S. history. It was the eleventh named hurricane and the fifth one of the Atlantic hurricane season in 2005. The costs of destruction and the number of people who died in the hurricane and floods, that followed it, prove that it was one of the most intense landfalling tropical cyclone ever seen in the North America. It ranks third in the top-five deadliest hurricanes in the U.S and made severe damage to Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida where large numbers of people lost their homes and all their belongings in an instant. No one may have prevented catastrophic flooding that followed the storm surges, but the warnings and projections could have been more adequate.
The hurricane originated over the islands of the Bahamas. It resulted from the interaction between the remnants of Tropical Depression Ten, a tropical cyclone, and a tropical wave. Soon after Tropical Storm Katrina emerged. The storm had become a massive storm even before it made landfall. It peaked over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, having strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane by the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. It hit land after it was reclassified for Category 3 hurricane. According to this scale, Category 4 sustained winds speed reaches from 131 to 155 miles per hour. According to Drye, it means that such a hurricane “is capable of doing massive damage.” Hurricane Charley was the last Category 4 hurricane on the U.S. territory before Katrina and was far less catastrophic. Nowadays Katrina remains to be a symbol of the worst natural disaster that took lots of casualties and caused colossal economic damage.
Hurricane Katrina is undoubtedly the costliest hurricane ever seen in the U.S. As Amadeo mentions: “Katrina was ten times more destructive than the second most expensive hurricane, Andrew, which was also a Category 5 storm when it hit Florida in 1992.” However, it did not beat the record of human losses. Katrina’s amount of death was 1,836 people. The majority of people were of old age with nearly a half of them being older than 75. Some people were abandoned in nursing homes. 200 bodies were unclaimed while 700 were unaccounted for. In total, hurricane affected 15 million people in one way or another. 600,000 pets were killed or left homeless as a result of massive destruction.
The real economic damage caused by Hurricane Katrina was estimated “between $96-$125 billion, with $40-$66 billion of insured losses” (Amadeo). A half of this amount was due to flooding in New Orleans. About 300,000 houses were made uninhabitable or destroyed in this city. The colossal damage ($260 million) was made to its port; however, a week later it was open to ships. The huge territories, about 90,000 square miles, were devastated and gas production was disrupted, that allows doubling the abovementioned economic loss. 19% of the United States’ oil production was affected by Hurricane Katrina. This led to oil and gas price increase and the government was forced to take prompt and decisive action by releasing the Strategic Petroleum Reserves. The destruction of offshore oil and gas platforms, damage of oil and gas pipelines and spilled oil posed another threat – environmental. Lots of people and animals were displaced with the numbers exceeding the Great Depression migration. The unemployment was sizable because the affected region supported about 1 million jobs. Katrina struck Louisiana’s sugar and chemical industry. According to estimates, the affected region contributed $500 million annual crop value and produced 25% of the U.S. chemicals. The tourism industry declined enormously. The Mississippi coast was famous for its casinos that gained huge profits annually.
After Katrina, New Orleans and other coastal cities acknowledged the necessity to work out how to decrease their vulnerability to natural calamities such as hurricanes and floods. The first step was to create Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. Existing wetlands must be rebuilt and sustained. Should any hurricane strike happen in the future, the cities will benefit from the protection that the wetlands grant. Moreover, hurricane Katrina made obvious the importance of the levee system that was incomplete and eroding in New Orleans when the tragedy happened. This means that the second step towards the lessening of negative impact of natural disasters is to engineer a new levee system. Cities, that in case of typhoon will take the pasting in the first time, should take care of their pump stations in order to handle excessive volume of water. Another important issue is to develop a new scale of rating hurricanes because the existing ones fail to predict the damage of possible loss. Complacency should be dealt with. The emergency management and preventable planning are necessary for effective assistance in case of disaster (Angelle).
Amadeo, K. (2015, January 15). Hurricane Katrina Facts: Damage and Economic Effects. About News. Retrieved from:
Angelle, A. (2010, August 27). What If Hurricane Katrina Hit New Orleans Today? Livescience. Retrieved from: http://www.livescience.com/11177-hurricane-katrina-hit-orleans-today.html
Drye, W. (2005, August 29). Hurricane Katrina Smashes Gulf Coast. National Geographic News. Retrieved from: