In the special exhibition Nature’s Fury: The Science of Natural Disasters, learn about historic hurricanes, like 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.

Katrina was only a Category 3 hurricane when it hit New Orleans in August 2005. But circumstances conspired to make it one of the worst disasters in U.S. history.

The ingredients for disaster were in place before Katrina even hit:

  • New Orleans is almost entirely below sea level and surrounded by water.
  • City officials had known for years that a major hurricane could cause the levees (walls that hold the water back) to fail. But the problem was never addressed, even as the planet warmed and sea levels rose.
  • Meanwhile the canals and floodwalls built to make the Louisiana coast habitable for humans have displaced the sediments that support its wetlands.
  • Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, which form a natural barrier against hurricanes, are disappearing at a rate of 33 football fields a day.

Learn more on the exhibition website.

How silly to compare her
to hurricanes
to thunderstorms
to temporary
cliche swirls of emotion.
She is concrete. She is permanent.

She is brave with her words
and slick with her heart.
There is concentration dripping from her pores
and love sticking to her bones.

She is a lifetime of goodmornings.
She is the warmth of lilac sheets.
She is firmly planted.
She sticks in your mouth
and slams against your jaw.

She is everything
imaginable,

and you’re telling me
the best you can come up with
is a fucking 30 minute storm?

—  Michelle K., She is Not a Hurricane.