Timeline of Hurricane Katrina
|2005 Atlantic hurricane season|
This article contains a historical timeline of the events of Hurricane Katrina.
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2013)|
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Tropical Depression Twelve formed a hurrican category 1 over the Bahamas at 5:00 p.m. EDT (2100 UTC) on August 23, 2005, partially from the remains of Tropical Depression Ten, which had dissipated due to the effects of a nearby upper tropospheric trough. While the normal standards for numbering tropical depressions in the Atlantic indicate that the old name/number is retained when a depression dissipates and regenerates, satellite data indicated that a second tropical wave combined with Tropical Depression Ten north of Puerto Rico to form a new, much more advanced system, which was then designated as Tropical Depression Twelve. Simultaneously, the trough in the upper troposphere weakened, causing the wind shear in the area to relax, thereby allowing the new tropical depression to develop.
||This article may be confusing or unclear to readers. (November 2012)|
In a later re-analysis, it was determined that the low-level circul Ten had completely detached and dissipated, with only the remnant mid-level circulation moving on and merging with the aforementioned second tropical wave. As a result, the criteria for keeping the same name and identity were not met.
Gulf of Mexico
Friday, August 26, 2005
At 1:00 AM EDT, maximum sustained winds had decreased to 70 mph (110 km/h) and Katrina was again downgraded to a tropical storm. At 5:00 AM EDT, the eye of Hurricane Katrina was located just offshore of southwestern Florida over the Gulf of Mexico about 50 miles (80 km) north-northeast of Key West, Florida. Maximum sustained winds had again increased to 75 mph (121 km/h) and Katrina was upgraded again to a Category 1 hurricane.
In the early afternoon, the National Hurricane Center officially shifts the possible track of Katrina from the Florida Panhandle to the Mississippi/Louisiana coast. Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco declared a state of emergency for the state of Louisiana. The declaration included activation of the state of Louisiana's emergency response and recovery program under the command of the director of the state office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to supply emergency support services. Following the declaration of a state of emergency, federal troops were deployed to Louisiana to coordinate the planning of operations with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 922 Army National Guard and 8 Air National Guard are deployed.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
At 10:00 AM EDT, officials in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, St. Tammany Parish, and Plaquemines Parish ordered a mandatory evacuation of all of their residents. Jefferson Parish and St. Bernard Parish ordered voluntary evacuations, recommending that all residents evacuate, particularly those living in lower areas. Jefferson Parish officials did declare a mandatory evacuation for the coastal areas of Grand Isle, Crown Point, Lafitte, and Barataria. Tolls were suspended on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway as well as the Crescent City Connection, to speed up the evacuation process.
At 5:00 PM EDT, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin announced a state of emergency and a called for a voluntary evacuation. He added that he would stick with the state's evacuation plan and not order a mandatory evacuation until 30 hours before the expected landfall. This would allow those residents in low-lying surrounding parishes to leave first and avoid gridlocked escape routes. However, he did recommend that residents of low-lying areas of the city, such as Algiers and the 9th Ward, get a head start. Nagin said the city would open the Superdome as a shelter of last resort for evacuees with special needs. He advised anyone planning to stay there to bring their own food, drinks and other comforts such as folding chairs. "No weapons, no large items, and bring small quantities of food for three or four days, to be safe," he said. The Louisiana National Guard had delivered three truckloads of water and seven truckloads of MRE's to the Superdome, enough to supply 15,000 people for three days.
In response to Governor Blanco's request, President Bush declared a federal state of emergency in Louisiana under the authority of the Stafford Act, which provided a, "means of assistance by the Federal Government to State and local governments in carrying out their responsibilities to alleviate the suffering and damage which result from such disasters,..."
The emergency declaration provided for federal assistance and funding, as well as assigned, by law, the responsibility for coordinating relief efforts with those government bodies and relief agencies which agree to operate under his advice or direction, to the FEMA federal coordinating officer (FCO). It also provided for military assets and personnel to be deployed in relief and support operations, although the Posse Comitatus Act imposes strict limitations on the use of Active Duty soldiers in law enforcement. 1701 Army National Guard and 932 Air National Guard are deployed (2633 total).
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Just after midnight, at 12:40 AM CDT (0540 UTC), Hurricane Katrina reached Category 4 intensity with 145 mph (233 km/h) winds. By 7:00 AM CDT (1200 UTC), it was a Category 5 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 175 mph (282 km/h), gusts up to 190 mph (310 km/h) and a central pressure of 902 mbar.
In a press conference at roughly 10:00 AM CDT (1500 UTC), Nagin declared that "a mandatory evacuation order is hereby called for all of the parish of Orleans." "We're facing the storm most of us have feared," he told the early-morning news conference, with the governor at his side. Following Nagin's speech, Governor Blanco stated that President Bush called her "just before" the press conference and said that he was "concerned about the [storm’s] impact" and asked her "to please ensure that there would be a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans." Katrina was expected to make landfall overnight. Shortly after the meeting, at 10:00 AM CDT (1500 UTC), the National Weather Service issued a bulletin predicting "devastating" damage.
At 12:00 PM CDT (1700 UTC), the Louisiana Superdome was opened as a, "refuge of last resort," for those residents that were unable to obtain safe transport out of the city. 20,000 people entered the Dome. The Louisiana National Guard had delivered three truckloads of water and seven truckloads of MRE's to the Superdome, enough to supply 15,000 people for three days. 4444 Army National Guard and 932 Air National Guard are deployed (5,376 total).
Monday, August 29, 2005
At 5:10 AM CDT (1010 UTC), Hurricane Katrina made its second landfall as a strong Category 3 hurricane near Buras-Triumph, Louisiana, with sustained winds of more than 125 mph (205 km/h), although Category 4 winds may have briefly affected the area. Katrina also made landfall in St. Bernard parish and St. Tammany parish as a Category 3 hurricane for a total of three landfalls in Louisiana.
By 8:00 AM CDT (1300 UTC), in New Orleans, water was seen rising on both sides of the Industrial Canal.
At approximately 8:14 AM CDT (1314 UTC), the New Orleans office of the National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Warning for Orleans Parish and St Bernard Parish, citing a levee breach at the Industrial Canal. The National Weather Service predicted three to eight feet of water and advised people in the warning area to "move to higher ground immediately."
At 10:00 AM CDT (1500 UTC), Hurricane Katrina made its third landfall near Pearlington, Mississippi and Slidell, Louisiana, with sustained winds of 120 mph (193 km/h) after crossing Breton Sound. Also at 10:00 AM. while at a Medicare event in El Mirage, Arizona, President Bush said, "I want to thank the governors of the affected regions for mobilizing assets prior to the arrival of the storm to help citizens avoid this devastating storm."
By 11:00 AM CDT (1600 UTC), there was approximately 10 feet (3 m) of water in St. Bernard Parish. Many rooftops could not be seen here as they were submerged. Therefore, there was much more than 10 feet (3.0 m) of water in many places.
In a press conference at 3:00 PM CDT (2000 UTC), New Orleans Homeland Security Director Terry Ebbertt stated that he was positive that there were casualties resulting from the storm, based on calls to emergency workers from people trapped in trees and homes. He said that, "Everybody who had a way or wanted to get out of the way of this storm was able to. For some that didn't, it was their last night on this earth." Police were fanning out across the city to assess damage, rescue people, and get a good look at the situation before nightfall. The hardest-hit areas of the city were the Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans East, Gentilly, Lakeview, St. Bernard parish, and Plaquemines parish.
Governor Blanco ordered 68 school buses into New Orleans from surrounding parishes to begin evacuating any survivors that remained in the city. 6908 Army National Guard and 933 Air National Guard were deployed (7,841 total). Governor Blanco and the National Guard stated that they could "handle it". FEMA Director Michael Brown also urged local fire and rescue departments outside Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi not to send trucks or emergency workers into disaster areas without an explicit request for help from state or local governments. Brown sought the approval from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff five hours after landfall to dispatch 1,000 Homeland Security workers into the region. Brown acknowledged that this process would take two days. He described Katrina as a, "near catastrophic event."
Brown defined the role of requested assigned personnel and additional aid from the United States Department of Homeland Security: "Establish and maintain positive working relationships with disaster affected communities and the citizens of those communities. Collect and disseminate information and make referrals for appropriate assistance. Identification of potential issues within the community and reporting to appropriate personnel. Convey a positive image of disaster operations to government officials, community organizations and the general public. Perform outreach with community leaders on available Federal disaster assistance."
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
At 12:00 PM CDT (1700 UTC), Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff became aware that the New Orleans levee breaches could not be plugged. Governor Blanco ordered that all of New Orleans, including the Superdome, be evacuated due to the flooding of the city. She commandeered hundreds of buses from across Louisiana using her executive powers, and those buses eventually evacuated more than 15,000 people that were stranded in the city to the Superdome by Thursday, September 1. There were also many instances of reported looting, including looting by police officers. Governor Blanco also said that she will request President Bush send federal troops to help restore law and order in New Orleans. 9,668 Army National Guard and 956 Air National Guard were deployed (10,624 total).
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Hurricane Katrina is downgraded to a tropical depression.
Michael Chertoff released a memo to other cabinet members and the Environmental Protection Agency stating that, "the President has established the 'White House Task Force on Hurricane Katrina Response.' He will meet with us tomorrow to launch this effort." The memo also declared Hurricane Katrina to be an Incident of National Significance and designated Michael Brown, Under-Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response (EP&R), as the Principal Federal Official (PFO) for incident management purposes."
The USS Bataan was positioned off the coast of Gulfport, Mississippi to support the relief efforts. The United States Navy moved additional ships and helicopters into the region at the request of FEMA. The number of National Guardsmen on duty in the Gulf Coast rose to approximately 8,300 [actually 10,428 Army National Guard and 960 Air National Guard were deployed - 11,388 total]. They remained under their respective governor's control, which enables them to provide law-enforcement support in the affected regions, which is prohibited [to the military] by the Posse Comitatus Act.
President Bush returned early to Washington from vacationing at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Though he does not stop in Louisiana, Air Force One flies low over the Gulf Coast so that he can view the devastation in Air Force One. He later declared a Public Health Emergency for the Gulf Coast.
Mayor Nagin ordered almost the entire New Orleans' police force to abandon search and rescue missions and turn their attention toward controlling the widespread looting and a curfew is placed in effect.
At 11:00 PM EDT (0300 UTC), the National Hurricane Center announced that the center of the remnant low of what was Hurricane Katrina has been completely absorbed by a frontal boundary in southeastern Canada, with no discernible circulation. The remnants of the hurricane caused roads in northern Quebec to be rutted and eroded by heavy rainfall, isolating the north shore communities for several days.
BNSF Railway announced that it expected to restore limited freight service to southern Louisiana by September 1. Other than debris on the mainline, the biggest problem facing crews working to reopen the line is the damage to the Bayou Boeuf bridge in Morgan City, Louisiana. The bridge and bridge piers were struck by a barge propelled by the storm's winds and wave action. BNSF sent crews to repair damaged railway signal systems starting on August 30. BNSF transferred freight through other hubs such as St. Louis, Chicago, and Memphis until service was restored.
Norfolk Southern (NS) announced that the majority their mainlines that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina were again operational. They removed almost 3,700 fallen trees and inspected over 1,400 miles (2,253 km) of track before setting trains in motion. Tracks directly into New Orleans, however, remained out of service due to washouts, continued flooding, as well as the city's evacuation orders. Freight that would have normally transferred in New Orleans was routed to other terminals across the NS system. The company's experience with previous hurricanes helped it to prepare action plans before Katrina made landfall. They moved repair equipment, supplies and employees into nearby areas and quickly deployed them to inspect and repair the system after the storm passed.
Thursday, September 1, 2005
U.S. Senate passes a relief package.
President Bush appeared on Good Morning America, and said that he understood the frustration of Katrina victims, many of whom are still waiting for food, water, and other aid. "I fully understand people wanting things to have happened yesterday," Bush said. "I understand the anxiety of people on the ground. … So there is frustration. But I want people to know there's a lot of help coming." He said that the government's first priority is to save lives, and described the devastation that he saw while flying over the hardest-hit areas as, "very emotional," but was also very optimistic about the prospects of New Orleans' recovery.
A 50-member Canadian search-and-rescue team from Vancouver, British Columbia reached a flooded New Orleans suburb to help save trapped residents.
National Guardsmen accompanied by buses (475 in all) and supply trucks begin to arrive at the Superdome.
A day after the National Guard (from Camp Beauregard) began delivering food, water and ice in New Orleans, the National President of the American Red Cross, Marsha Evans, requested to set up a shelter in New Orleans to pass out food and water. However, due to the ongoing military rescue operations in the city at the time, the Red Cross was asked to wait for 24 hours. By Saturday, the point was moot because the large-scale evacuation of the city was already underway.
Meanwhile, conditions at the Superdome, as well as the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, continued to deteriorate. Food and potable water were unavailable, with mostly false reports and rumors of rescuers coming under fire from people seeking to hijack supplies or transportation, and few buses were arriving to evacuate the survivors. About 5,000 refugees made it by bus to Reliant Astrodome, yet there were only about 2,000 cots available. Secretary Chertoff is criticized by NPR's Robert Siegel during an interview on All Things Considered, as he had no knowledge of the approximately 2,000 survivors at the Convention Center with no food or water. He said, "I have not heard a report of thousands of people in the Convention Center who don't have food and water." FEMA Director Brown said that FEMA only became aware of crisis at the Convention Center on this date, yet later claims to have known about it 24 hours earlier.
Secretary Chertoff announced that 4,200 National Guard troops trained as military police would be deployed to New Orleans over the next three days. Governor Blanco requested the mobilization of an additional 40,000 National Guard troops. 14,284 Army National Guard and 972 Air National Guard were currently deployed (15,256 total).
California swift water rescue crew units deployed to the area rescued hundreds in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish. However, FEMA later halted the swift water rescue crews from conducting further rescues, citing safety concerns.
The New Orleans suburb of Gretna seals the Crescent City Connection bridge across the Mississippi River, turning back fleeing flood victims at gunpoint. Evacuees blamed the incident on racism, but the chief of police stated that the city was in lockdown and was not equipped to handle evacuees from New Orleans.
The Kansas City Southern Railway reopened its Meridian Speedway railway line between Meridian, Mississippi, and Shreveport, Louisiana, after clearing debris and repairing damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. The line is also used by Norfolk Southern as a bridge route for NS intermodal trains between the Meridian and Alliance, Texas. KCS is also working with CSX Transportation and Meridian and Bigbee Railway to transfer additional intermodal traffic through Meridian rather than New Orleans or Birmingham.
President Bush signed a $10.5 billion relief package that was passed by Congress which included supplemental funds for FEMA, as well as $500 million for the Pentagon for its relief efforts. He also toured the hurricane-battered Gulf Coast, saying that he is ordering additional active duty forces to the region, and authorized a withdrawal of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
The Bush administration sent Governor Blanco a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans. Louisiana officials eventually rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law.
Sheet piling blocks water flow into the 17th Street Canal, making closure of the breach not relevant to city flooding. Work on closing the breach continues for purposes of pumping.
In a letter to the governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, BNSF Railway (headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas) pledged a contribution of $1 Million, and offered rail transportation to aid in relief efforts for the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. The monetary contribution came from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Foundation as a donation to the American Red Cross relief efforts, while the transportation assistance was organized by the Association of American Railroads, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Railroad Administration, as well as other railroads that serve the area. The letter also stated that repairs to the Bayou Boeuf bridge were now completed and BNSF's mainline was reopened as originally planned at 6:00 PM CST on September 1.
Friday, September 2, 2005
- Bush signs the $10.5 billion relief package after Congress passed it. 
- Bush tours the hurricane-battered Gulf Coast, saying that he is ordering additional active duty forces to the region. He also authorizes a drawdown of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. 
- 18,678 Army National Guard and 2,464 Air National Guard were deployed (21,142 total).
Saturday, September 3, 2005
25,548 Army National Guard and 3,998 Air National Guard were deployed (28,546 total).
Sunday, September 4, 2005
The evacuation of the Superdome has been completed. 29,588 Army National Guard and 4,596 Air National Guard were deployed (34,184 total).
Monday, September 5, 2005
The 17th Street Canal levee breach was closed with truckloads of rock and sandbags. The canal reopened so that it could be used to pump water out of city. 33,608 Army National Guard and 6,613 Air National Guard were deployed (40,221 total).
Tuesday, September 6, 2005
Rescue workers said that there were still many, "holdouts," who were not heeding the mandatory evacuation order first issued by Nagin on August 28. They were concerned about their property being looted, were unaware of the full extent of the disaster, worried about their pets, or concerned that conditions would be worse in the shelters. Due to unsanitary conditions in the city, as well as contaminations of E. coli bacteria in the standing water in the city, Nagin ordered the forced evacuation of everyone that was not involved in cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina.
38,093 Army National Guard and 5,770 Air National Guard were deployed (43,863 total).
Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) called for Michael D. Brown's resignation. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) voiced criticism of the disaster's handling, and of the Bush administration's management, delegation of control, leadership, and human consideration.
Wednesday, September 7, 2005
39,736 Army National Guard and 5,952 Air National Guard were deployed (45,688 total).
Thursday, September 8, 2005
President Bush issued an executive order suspending the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, allowing federal contractors rebuilding after Katrina to pay below the prevailing wage. This action upset labor leaders and Democrats in Congress, who feared that it would make it more difficult for union contractors to win bids.
40,667 Army National Guard and 5,735 Air National Guard were deployed (46,402 total).
Friday, September 9, 2005
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Michael Brown was removed from directing Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in New Orleans by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. He has been replaced by Vice Admiral Thad W. Allen, Chief of Staff of the United States Coast Guard.
U.S. Army Lieutenant General Russel L. Honoré and New Orleans Director of Homeland Security Terry Ebbert announced a "zero access" policy with regards to the media, in order to prevent members of the media from reporting on the recovery of dead bodies in New Orleans. CNN filed a lawsuit, then obtained a temporary restraining order to prevent government agencies from interfering with news coverage of recovery efforts.
42,164 Army National Guard and 4,347 Air National Guard were deployed (46,511 total).
Saturday, September 10, 2005
The federal government subsequently agreed not to attempt to restrict media coverage of events and Honoré's deputy says that the original statement referred to a policy of not allowing embedded journalists on relief operations.
42,257 Army National Guard and 4,581 Air National Guard were deployed (46,838 total - the peak deployment, with the military then arriving).
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Louisiana's Department of Environmental Quality issued an administrative order for information on railroad car status information from seventeen railroads in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. The Department sought to obtain a listing of all car reporting marks, types, contents, locations and physical status within the region. Previous flyovers of the area revealed a number of cars derailed in various states of damage, but it is as yet unknown the amount or types of hazardous materials that were involved.
Meanwhile, under the orders of Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Illinois police officers on loan to Louisiana were sent out with flat bottomed boats to rescue hundreds of frozen embryos from New Orleans Lakewood Hospital's Fertility Institute, the first of which was born on Jan. 16, 2007.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Congress approved the Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005 for Hurricane Katrina victims, which included the elimination of the early withdrawal penalty on retirement accounts, forgiven debts not being taxable, and more.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Monday, September 19, 2005
After starting to allow residents back into the city, Mayor Nagin ordered yet another evacuation due to Hurricane Rita. With the levees and pumping systems in a weakened state, even a near-miss could bring flooding back to areas that have begun to dry out.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
The official death toll was raised to 1,036, with 63 additional deaths recognized in Louisiana. This marked the first time since 1928 that a natural disaster in the U.S. had been officially acknowledged to have killed at least 1,000 people. State-by-state death tolls: Louisiana 799, Mississippi 218, Florida 14, Alabama 2, Georgia 2, Tennessee 1.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Hurricane Rita compounded the already growing problems as it makes landfall just west of where Hurricane Katrina had.
Brig. Gen. Doug Pritt and the 41st Brigade Combat Team of Oregon were designated as the head of Joint Task Force Rita, leading the multi-state National Guard relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Hurricane Rita.
The official regionwide death toll from Hurricane Katrina was upgraded to 1,080. Mississippi still had not officially increased its death toll by much, but added 2 to the count. Thousands feared dead in Mississippi and Louisiana remain out of the official death toll. State-by-State death tolls: Louisiana 841, Mississippi 220, Florida 14, Alabama 2, Georgia 2, Tennessee 1.
Saturday, October 1, 2005
The official death toll from Hurricane Katrina was upgraded to 1,135. It had been 33 days since landfall in Louisiana and Mississippi. State-by-State death tolls: Louisiana 896, Mississippi 220, Florida 14, Alabama 2, Georgia 2, Tennessee 1.
Tuesday, October 4, 2005
To date, approximately 1.5 million people were evacuated from the damaged areas in Louisiana, roughly 1 million have applied for hurricane-related federal aid, 30,000 are in out-of-state shelters, 46,400 are in state shelters and 972 people have perished in the storm.
The official death toll was upgraded to 1,836 with more than 2,500 still missing. State-by-State death tolls: Louisiana 1,577, Mississippi 238, Florida 14, Alabama 2, Georgia 2, Tennessee 1, Kentucky 1.
Wednesday, October 5, 2005
Mayor Nagin announced that, due to lack of funds, New Orleans would lay off 3,000 non-essential employees from the city's payroll, or about half of its workforce, over the next two weeks.
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- Hurricane Katrina: Open-Content Timeline
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