All hurricanes are formed in tropical waters, and many get their start in the Atlantic Ocean. These storms can only form in warm waters when the sea, wind and air pressure conditions are just right. Once they are active, hurricanes can be moved around by powerful gusts of wind known as steering winds. The winds help build the hurricanes up and give them more power, and when they are large enough they can cause massive rain fall, large waves that break well beyond the shoreline known as surge storms and a spiraling cyclone of wind and water that can be destructive and deadly.
Katrina was a massive hurricane that formed in the Atlantic in 2005, and at times reached Category 5 status. The storm was described as being among the worst natural disasters of all time. While at its peak, Katrina caused severe flooding and produced more than 1 inch of rain every hour, leaving some areas completely submerged under nearly 20 feet of water.
Some scientists claim that global warning is partially to blame for the power and endurance of hurricane Katrina. Hurricanes are formed in tropical waters, and need continued heat to exist, so the warming of the oceans is considered by many authorities to be a cause for more frequent and powerful hurricanes.
Effects of Katrina
Katrina was responsible for property damage and fatalities in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia and Alabama. During the time it was active, over 1 million people were evacuated from their homes to escape the fury of the storm. The estimated amount of damage that was created by Katrina was an astonishing 81 billion dollars.
One of the biggest hazards created by hurricane Katrina was the massive flooding it produced. Louisiana was hit the hardest, but both Alabama and Mississippi also had large areas left under water following the storm.
Perhaps the best known area that was seriously affected by Katrina was New Orleans. Heavy winds mixed with severe flooding caused the flood walls that supported canals and other bodies of water to collapse. These walls were not intended to withstand a hurricane that was more powerful than a Category 3, so Katrina easily destroyed them. This allowed much more water to escape into the city of New Orleans, leaving vast sections of the city under water.
Effects on New Orleans
New Orleans suffered a large number of casualties, a lack of drinkable water, severe property damage, electrical outages and many more difficulties as a result of hurricane Katrina.
Following the disaster, thousands of people who had lost their homes were forced to seek shelter at the New Orleans Superdome. Many others broke in to the Convention Center to find refuge there. These structures were large enough to hold huge numbers of people, but did not have the proper facilities, supplies or law enforcement that was needed to sustain the amount of individuals who were forced to temporarily move in. People stayed there for several days until they were able to make other living arrangements, often in far away cities and even other states. Both of the buildings may be condemned due to the extremely unsanitary conditions they were left in.
Hurricane Katrina was one of the most powerful storms in history. The horrifying results of the storm drew constant national attention for many weeks. The process of cleaning up and repairing the damages left by Katrina are still ongoing, and could continue for many years to come.