Atlantic Panic

Hurricane Katrina was a devastating Category 5 Atlantic hurricane that caused 1392 fatalities and damage estimated between $97.4 billion to $145.5 billion in late August 2005, particularly in the city of New Orleans and its surrounding area. At the time, it was the costliest tropical cyclone on record, later tied by Hurricane Harvey of 2017. Katrina was the twelfth tropical cyclone, the fifth hurricane, and the third major hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. It was also the fourth-most intense Atlantic hurricane to make landfall in the contiguous United States, gauged by barometric pressure. Katrina began on August 23, 2005, with the merger of a tropical wave and the remnants of Tropical Depression Ten. Early the following day, the depression intensified into a tropical storm and headed generally westward toward Florida. On August 25, two hours before making landfall at Hallandale Beach, it strengthened into a hurricane. After briefly weakening to tropical storm strength over southern Florida, Katrina entered the Gulf of Mexico on August 26 and rapidly intensified. The storm strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico before weakening to a high-end Category 3 hurricane at its second landfall on August 29 over southeast Louisiana and Mississippi. The largest loss of life in Hurricane Katrina was due to flooding caused by engineering flaws in the flood protection system, particularly the levee around the city of New Orleans. Eventually, 80% of the city, as well as large areas in neighboring parishes, were flooded for weeks. The flooding destroyed most of New Orleans's transportation and communication facilities, leaving tens of thousands of people who did not evacuate the city prior to landfall with little access to food, shelter, and other basic necessities. The disaster in New Orleans prompted a massive national and international response effort, including federal, local, and private rescue operations to evacuate those displaced from the city in the following weeks. After the storm, multiple investigations concluded that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which had designed and built the region's levees decades earlier, was responsible for the failure of the flood-control systems. However, federal courts later ruled that the Corps could not be held financially liable due to sovereign immunity in the Flood Control Act of 1928.The emergency response from federal, state, and local governments was widely criticized, leading to the resignation of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director Michael D. Brown and New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Superintendent Eddie Compass. Many other government officials faced criticism for their responses, especially New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, and President George W. Bush. However, several agencies, such as the United States Coast Guard (USCG), National Hurricane Center (NHC), and National Weather Service (NWS), were commended for their actions, with the NHC being particularly praised for its accurate forecasts well in advance. Katrina was the earliest 11th named storm on record, before being surpassed by Tropical Storm Kyle on August 14, 2020. The destruction and loss of life caused by the storm prompted the name Katrina to be retired by the World Meteorological Organization in April 2006. On January 4, 2023, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) updated the Katrina fatality data based on a report by Rappaport (2014) which reduced the number from an estimated 1,833 to 1,392. The same NHC report also revised the total damage estimate keeping Hurricane Katrina as the costliest storm ever––$190 billion according to NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information.