Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi


Hurricane katrina ’s winds and storm rush forward the Mississippi coastline on the afternoon of August 28, 2005, beginning a two-day path of devastation through central Mississippi; by 10 a.m. CDT on August 29, 2005, the eye of Katrina began traveling up the entire state, only slowing from hurricane-force winds at Meridian near 7 p.m. and entering Tennessee as a tropical storm. Many coastal towns of Mississippi (and Louisiana) had already been obliterate, in a single night. Hurricane katrina -force winds reached coastal Mississippi by 2 a.m. and lasted over 17 hours, spawning 11 tornadoes (51 in other states and a 28-foot (9 m) storm surge flooding 6-12 miles (10-19 km) inland. Many, unable to abandon, survived by climbing to attics or rooftops. Afterward, over 235 people died in Mississippi, and all counties in Mississippi were affirmed disaster areas, 49 for full federal support.

More than one million people in Mississippi were affected, and almost 6 months later, the extent of the destruction in Mississippi was still described as “staggering” in USA Today on February 16, 2006: “The Mississippi Gulf Coast has been devastated. The extent of the devastation in Mississippi is also staggering. Since Katrina hit, more than half a million people in Mississippi have applied for assistance from FEMA. In a state of just 2.9 million residents, that means more than one in six Mississippians have sought help. More than 97,000 people are still living in FEMA trailers and mobile homes. Another 5,000 to 6,000 are still waiting for FEMA trailers. Almost six months later, many neighborhoods are still piled high with storm debris” (reported February 2006).

Scattered damage

General: The effects of a hurricane katrina can be scattered across a large area, because hurricanes are large, complex storms which spawn smaller thunderstorms, tornadoes, storm surges, and sea waves. Hurricane speeds east of the eyewall can be 40-50 mph (64-80 km/h) higher than winds west of the eye. Wind gusts can be scattered, just as boats or debris can ram one house but not another. One building can seem untouched, while others nearby are flattened; also trees can be partially weakened: tree limbs can fall months later, crashing onto a roof, automobile, fence, etc.

Specific: Because Hurricane Katrina became a massive storm, over 450 miles (720 km) wide, not only the eyewall-path, and 28-foot (9 m) storm surge, but also the outer bands of the hurricane arms caused scattered damage hundreds of miles away from the center. Eleven spawned tornadoes were recorded in Mississippi (51 elsewhere). It is possible that scattered damage to northern Mississippi occurred, by spin-off storms, around the time hurricane Katrina made landfall in eastern Greater New Orleans (Louisiana’s “boot toe”) and then, again, near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, heading north-northeast into central Mississippi, at 10 a.m. on August 29. Note that “landfall” occurred over towns submerged under 20 feet (6 m) of water. As buildings collapsed, water-tight appliances floated, sending refrigerators and dishwashers to ram other buildings and block streets. Millions of homes and buildings were affected, along with ships, boats, and more than 40 offshore oil rigs.


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