MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — On Aug. 24, 2005, thousands of people across the Gulf Coast turned on their televisions and radios to the news of a storm that was coming right for them. They didn’t know at the time, but Hurricane Katrina would develop into a Category 5 storm that left devastation and chaos in its massive wake.
Hurricane Katrina was the costliest hurricane to ever hit the U.S., costing $108 billion in damage, according to the National Weather Service. The incalculable toll: 1,833 people lost their lives. On Aug. 23, Katrina had officially been named a tropical depression, which ultimately led to it becoming a tropical storm on Aug. 24.
After turning into a Category 1 hurricane and moving over the Southeast Florida coast, Hurricane Katrina landed in the Gulf of Mexico. Due to the warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Katrina quickly amplified to a Category 5. Before making landfall in southeast Louisiana, the hurricane weakened to a Category 3 storm. Hurricane Katrina made landfall for the last time along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. When Katrina made landfall in Louisiana, it had winds of 125 mph and 120 mph when it hit Mississippi. The pressure was 902 mb (millibars) at landfall, which is the seventh lowest on record for all Atlantic Basin hurricanes.
Hurricane Katrina was most known for its storm surge. In the News 5 area, Mobile State Docks measured a storm surge of 11.45 feet, but the surge reached around 28 feet in Bay St. Louis and Pass Christian in Mississippi. The highest sustained winds in Mobile were recorded on Dauphin Island at 64 knots. The hurricane also produced a total of nine tornadoes in south Alabama and southwest Florida areas. Two F0 tornadoes were recorded in Mobile County and one F0 in Baldwin County.
Unfortunately, the breaks in the levees between New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain only added to the devastation. “At least 80% of New Orleans was under flood waters on August 31st,” says NWS Mobile.
When the storm had passed and damage was starting to be assessed, it was clear that the damage in Mobile was severe. In a picture captured by USA Today, an oil rig had drifted up the Mobile River and became stuck under the Cochrane-Africatown Bridge. The streets of downtown Mobile were underwater and businesses along the Causeway were destroyed.
Hurricane Ida made landfall exactly 16 years later to the day as a category 4 storm. Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon. Some people in Louisiana are still recovering from the damage of Ida.