Hurricane Katrina By Gabrielle Izu

Hurricanes are a natural disaster formed near the equator, due to it's just right warmth and air pressure. A hurricane forms when air near the ocean's surface becomes warm and rises up, causing a lower air pressure area. Areas with higher pressure around this low pressure area will push into this low pressure area, but this air will also heat up, eventually rising too. As this cycle continues clouds are forming were the warm air cools off. Eventually these clouds will begin to expand and start to spin, becoming a Tropical Storm that might turn into a hurricane.

BEFORE KATRINA

Hurricane Katrina formed in the Bahamas on August 23, 2005, and meteorologists were able to warn the public about her. On August 25, 2005 Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Florida as a Category 1 Hurricane. Only two people died, so people dismissed it as a regular hurricane passing through, but little did they know what catastrophe was going to hit Louisiana along with Alabama and Mississippi.

Hurricane Katrina

After she made her first landfall she went back into the Gulf of Mexico, stalling under a cyclone until she became a Category 5 and headed for Louisiana on August 28. She extended 400 miles across and had winds up to 100-140 miles per hour. The authorities called for a mandatory evacuation, but due to traffic and not having cars some people were stuck in New Orleans. Most either decided to stay at the Superdome or wait the hurricane out at home.

Then Katrina hit. The levees failed and the water either destroyed or flooded through them. New Orleans was under sea level so nobody was prepared for the damage. Homes were decimated, ecosystems torn apart, and thousands were dead. For many months the people in New Orleans were stuck, due to all of the flooding most of the roads were closed. Places like 9th ward and St Bernard Parish were under so much water people had to take cover in the attics and rooftops. The government was not responding and the people were getting desperate.

DAMAGE DONE

Damage and flooding after Katrina

Above are just a few shots of the physical damage of Katrina. Due to the levee failure flood waters swept away many buildings, trees, and plants. Katrina also spread raw sewage and toxic chemicals around, harming the ecosystem. All of these are horrible outcomes of Hurricane Katrina, but one of the most prominent has to do with the wetlands.

Wetlands damage

After Katrina the wetlands flooded and the ocean saltwater killed many freshwater plants. Katrina spread the seeds of an evasive tree species, putting the native trees at risk. Katrina furthered the damage already done by weathering away much of the wetland area(along with the coastal area). Katrina weakened the wetland ecosystem, and scientists were worried about what would happen to the wetlands. To this day some of the damage still persists, and the native tree species are in danger.

AFTERMATH AND REBUILDING

Even after such a horrible natural disaster nature finds a way to bounce back. Succession is taking it's course and is rebuilding the ecosystem, but due to Katrina spreading it's seeds a new type of tree is growing in place of the native ones (and possibly threatening them). At first scientists were worried about how the oil and toxic chemicals spread by Katrina would affect the ecosystem, but natural processes have weathered down the oil to a less toxic state. Scientists found five years later that the toxicity levels were the same as before Katrina (although there still may be pockets of toxicity). The bird and other marsh animal populations after Katrina experienced a decline for a while, but bounced back by 2008. Some ecosystems are even thriving again.

While Katrina did do some damage she also did some good too. As she was going along the coast she deposited a new sediments, lowering the lead levels in the soil. She also had some economical positives. Since she decimated the poorer areas there was need for reconstruction, so now those "poorer areas" are in way better condition.

Hurricane Katrina killed 2,000 people and caused $100 billion in damage. She caused so much damage that they had her name retired. Today she will be known as one of the most disastrous hurricanes the U.S. has ever seen.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

"Hurricane Katrina" History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 4/27/17

Zimmermann, Kim "Hurricane Katrina:Facts, Damage, & Aftermath" Live Science. Purch, 8/27/15. Web. 4/27/17

Rastogi, Nina "After The Flood" Slate. The Slate Group, 8/17/2010. Web. 4/27/17

Thompson,Helen "How Hurricane Katrina Redrew The Gulf Coast" Smithsonian.com. Smithsonian Magazine, 8/28/15. Web. 4/27/17

Britt, Robert "How & Where Hurricanes Form" Live Science. Purch, 5/27/5. Web. 4/29/17

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