FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Hurricane Katrina.
Those two words alone are enough to send chills up your spine.
It was 15 years ago when lives were forever changed along the Gulf Coast.
Hurricane Katrina devastated the coastal areas of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi which includes the city of New Orleans.
It is one of the worst natural disasters to ever strike the United States.
Track of Katrina
On August 23, 2005 a tropical depression formed over the southeastern Bahamas and the next day it became Tropical Storm Katrina.
It moved into the central Bahamas and as it continued to track to the west, it gradually intensified.
Katrina first made landfall on August 25 as a Category 1 hurricane along the southeast Florida coast near the Broward/Miami-Dade County border.
It moved west across south Florida and it weakened into a tropical storm as it exited Florida on August 26.
Then, in the very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Katrina rapidly intensified into a Category 5 hurricane with peak sustained winds of 175 mph.
Katrina weakened into a Category 3 hurricane before making landfall along the northern Gulf Coast on August 29.
It made a third landfall near the Louisiana-Mississippi line before weakening below hurricane intensity late August 29 over east central Mississippi.
Radar loop of Hurricane Katrina (2005) making landfall on the Gulf Coast with devastating surge and strong winds. pic.twitter.com/AxrKLye5Ii
— Adrian Linares (@AdrianLinares28) August 13, 2016
The loss of life and property damage was heightened by breaks in the levees that separate New Orleans from Lake Pontchartrain.
It was a combination of strong winds, heavy rainfall and storm surge that led the levees to break after the storm passed.
Some parts of New Orleans were under about 20 feet of water.
According to the National Weather Service, at least 80% of New Orleans was under flood waters on August 31.
The storm killed over 1,800 people and it disrupted the lives of thousands of people.
Over 275,000 homes were either damaged or destroyed and the destruction had an approximate cost of 161 billion dollars.
Nearly 15 years ago the Gulf Coast was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Explore NASA data and tools that can be used to track the movement and development of severe storms and aid in assessing post-storm impacts in this Cyclones Data Pathfinder: https://t.co/UZsRGTx1Fg pic.twitter.com/l2p55iGsHz
— NASAEarthdata (@NASAEarthData) August 24, 2020
Approximately 90% of New Orleans’s pre-storm population is back but not all neighborhoods have been revived such as the Lower Ninth Ward.
This area was hit the hardest by the storm.
According to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute or EESI, there are still empty plots east of the French Quarter where rows of houses once stood.
It has been 15 years since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast.
The destructive imprint of this historic storm is still evident today.