category 3 hurricane

10 Year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

Today marks the 10th anniversary of 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.

We won’t soon forget what happened. People trapped on rooftops after the water had risen through the floorboards, poured through windows and filled the attic. Mothers and small children—and children without their mothers—stranded for days in the overcrowded Superdome. New Orleans, one of America’s most vibrant and visited cities, underwater.

Hurricanes have many ways of doing us harm: high winds, storm surge, flooding. But people contribute to the problem. We build on vulnerable coastlines and below sea level. Our industry erodes the land that protects us. There will always be natural disasters. Are we turning them into unnatural disasters?

Learn more about hurricanes and their causes

Ten Years After Katrina

As we remember the devastation that Hurricane Katrina caused ten years ago, we also look to the improvements made in the past decade in storm prediction and forecasting.

Hurricane Katrina impacted many people, businesses and communities; and even two NASA facilities were hit by the storm. Marshall Space Flight Center and Michoud Assembly Facility were both hit by the harsh storm (seen below).

During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, our satellites were hard at work monitoring and watching the storm from above. Thanks to the higher resolution models we have today, simulations can recreate historical storms, like the below of Hurricane Katrina. Scientists can then study these and learn about past events.

Surprisingly, the United States hasn’t experienced the landfall of a Category 3 hurricane or lager since 2005. This is the longest period of time that has passed without a major hurricane making landfall in the U.S. since reliable records began in 1850.

Although we don’t know when a severe storm will form, we do know that advancements in technology can help us better prepare and predict its path. So, on this ten year mark of this devastating storm, we look back to remember what we saw: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/sets/72157656646633089

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.

While Hurricane Matthew stayed further Eastward than weather forecasters predicted, light damage was still inflicted on Florida’s space coast, including damage done to the Navaho missile on display outside Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s south gate.

The Category 3 hurricane produced wind gusts up to 107 mph at CCAFS, and lifted the winged missile off its launch stand. Navaho has stood vigilantly outside the station’s south gate since the early 1990s. Sadly, the missile was the only remaining vehicle of the Navaho series. It is unknown if the US Air Force Space and Missile Museum Foundation - owners of the Navaho - are able to restore the missile. Consultation between the Foundation and the Air Force would likely determine Navaho’s fate.

P/c: Greg Pallone/MyNews13

Navaho seen below before being knocked off its display stand by Hurricane Matthew.

To all my East Coast followers: PLEAS BE SAFE THIS WEEKEND. If your city/county has an evacuation order, the GET OUT OF THERE. This is a Category 3 Hurricane, and it’s expected to get back up toe Category 4 before it makes landfall again, so please be safe.