Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Southern Florida as a Category 1 hurricane 10 years ago this week. Moving into the Gulf of Mexico where it strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane, it then made a second landfall on August 29 in Southern Louisiana as a Category 3 hurricane and finally made a third landfall close to the Louisiana Mississippi border.
The U.S. Census Bureau released a special edition of its Facts for Features highlighting the areas that sustained the most damage: New Orleans and the Mississippi coast.
Katrina was responsible for 1,833 deaths and damage estimated at $151 billion, including $75 billion in the New Orleans area and along the Mississippi coast.
Federal disaster declarations issued in the hurricane’s wake covered not only all of the coastal counties of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, but extended well inland to include cities such as Baton Rouge, La.; Jackson, Miss.; and Tuscaloosa, Ala.
According to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, Katrina resulted in insurance claims worth $41.1 billion that were paid to 1.7 million policyholders, with 98 percent of claims settled within a year.
The Insurance Information Institute lists Hurricane Katrina as the most expensive flood event by National Flood Insurance program payouts, with the number of paid losses totaling 167,968, the amount paid in billions totaling $16.3 and the average paid loss amount at $97,133.
According to the I.I.I., the storm still ranks as the most costly to date.
Globally, Hurricane Katrina is also ranked as the costliest natural catastrophe since 1980, with total insured losses at $60.5 million, according to Munich Re.
According to NOAA, Katrina dropped more than five inches of rain across Florida during the storm’s initial landfall. In addition, some parts of the state received more than 15 inches.
80 percent of New Orleans was under water on August 31, according to NOAA.
More than 1.7 million residents located in the Gulf States lost power as a result of the storm.
The storm displaced more than a million people in the Gulf Coast region. Many people returned home within days, but up to 600,000 households were still displaced a month later. At their peak, hurricane evacuee shelters housed 273,000 people and, later, FEMA trailers housed at least 114,000 households, according to www.datacenterresearch.org.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau and data compiled by The Data Center, a nonprofit that provides independent analysis relating to issues involving Southeast Louisiana, the population of New Orleans fell from a pre-Katrina high of 484,674 to about 230,172 post-Katrina — a decline of more than half of the city’s population. Nearly eight years later, the population had grown to 384,320.
More than a million housing units in the Gulf Coast region were damaged or destroyed by Katrina. According to The Data Center, “about half of these damaged units were located in Louisiana. In New Orleans alone, 134,000 housing units — 70 percent of all occupied units — suffered damage from Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding.”
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