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What Is a Case Study?

When you’re performing research as part of your job or for a school assignment, you’ll probably come across case studies that help you to learn more about the topic at hand. But what is a case study and why are they helpful? Read on to learn all about case studies.

Deep Dive into a Topic

At face value, a case study is a deep dive into a topic. Case studies can be found in many fields, particularly across the social sciences and medicine. When you conduct a case study, you create a body of research based on an inquiry and related data from analysis of a group, individual or controlled research environment.

As a researcher, you can benefit from the analysis of case studies similar to inquiries you’re currently studying. Researchers often rely on case studies to answer questions that basic information and standard diagnostics cannot address.

Study a Pattern

One of the main objectives of a case study is to find a pattern that answers whatever the initial inquiry seeks to find. This might be a question about why college students are prone to certain eating habits or what mental health problems afflict house fire survivors. The researcher then collects data, either through observation or data research, and starts connecting the dots to find underlying behaviors or impacts of the sample group’s behavior.

Gather Evidence

During the study period, the researcher gathers evidence to back the observed patterns and future claims that’ll be derived from the data. Since case studies are usually presented in the professional environment, it’s not enough to simply have a theory and observational notes to back up a claim. Instead, the researcher must provide evidence to support the body of study and the resulting conclusions.

Present Findings

As the study progresses, the researcher develops a solid case to present to peers or a governing body. Case study presentation is important because it legitimizes the body of research and opens the findings to a broader analysis that may end up drawing a conclusion that’s more true to the data than what one or two researchers might establish. The presentation might be formal or casual, depending on the case study itself.

Draw Conclusions

Once the body of research is established, it’s time to draw conclusions from the case study. As with all social sciences studies, conclusions from one researcher shouldn’t necessarily be taken as gospel, but they’re helpful for advancing the body of knowledge in a given field. For that purpose, they’re an invaluable way of gathering new material and presenting ideas that others in the field can learn from and expand upon.


hurricane katrina case study gcse

Internet Geography

Hurricane Katrina Case Study

Hurricane Katrina is tied with Hurricane Harvey (2017) as the costliest hurricane on record. Although not the strongest in recorded history, the hurricane caused an estimated $125 billion worth of damage. The category five hurricane is the joint eight strongest ever recorded, with sustained winds of 175 mph (280 km/h).

The hurricane began as a very low-pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean. The system strengthened, forming a hurricane that moved west, approaching the Florida coast on the evening of the 25th August 2005.

A satellite image of Hurricane Katrina.

A satellite image of Hurricane Katrina.

Hurricane Katrina was an extremely destructive and deadly Category 5 hurricane. It made landfall on Florida and Louisiana, particularly the city of New Orleans and surrounding areas, in August 2005, causing catastrophic damage from central Florida to eastern Texas. Fatal flaws in flood engineering protection led to a significant loss of life in New Orleans. The levees, designed to cope with category three storm surges, failed to lead to catastrophic flooding and loss of life.

What were the impacts of Hurricane Katrina?

Hurricane Katrina was a category five tropical storm. The hurricane caused storm surges over six metres in height. The city of New Orleans was one of the worst affected areas. This is because it lies below sea level and is protected by levees. The levees protect the city from the Mississippi River and Lake Ponchartrain. However, these were unable to cope with the storm surge, and water flooded the city.

$105 billion was sought by The Bush Administration for repairs and reconstruction in the region. This funding did not include potential interruption of the oil supply, destruction of the Gulf Coast’s highway infrastructure, and exports of commodities such as grain.

Although the state made an evacuation order, many of the poorest people remained in New Orleans because they either wanted to protect their property or could not afford to leave.

The Superdome stadium was set up as a centre for people who could not escape the storm. There was a shortage of food, and the conditions were unhygienic.

Looting occurred throughout the city, and tensions were high as people felt unsafe. 1,200 people drowned in the floods, and 1 million people were made homeless. Oil facilities were damaged, and as a result, the price of petrol rose in the UK and USA.

80% of the city of New Orleans and large neighbouring parishes became flooded, and the floodwaters remained for weeks. Most of the transportation and communication networks servicing New Orleans were damaged or disabled by the flooding, and tens of thousands of people who had not evacuated the city before landfall became stranded with little access to food, shelter or basic necessities.

The storm surge caused substantial beach erosion , in some cases completely devastating coastal areas.

Katrina also produced massive tree loss along the Gulf Coast, particularly in Louisiana’s Pearl River Basin and among bottomland hardwood forests.

The storm caused oil spills from 44 facilities throughout southeastern Louisiana. This resulted in over 7 million US gallons (26,000 m 3 ) of oil being leaked. Some spills were only a few hundred gallons, and most were contained on-site, though some oil entered the ecosystem and residential areas.

Some New Orleans residents are no longer able to get home insurance to cover them from the impact of hurricanes.

What was the response to Hurricane Katrina?

The US Government was heavily criticised for its handling of the disaster. Despite many people being evacuated, it was a very slow process. The poorest and most vulnerable were left behind.

The government provided $50 billion in aid.

During the early stages of the recovery process, the UK government sent food aid.

The National Guard was mobilised to restore law and order in New Orleans.

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Extreme weather

Extreme weather is when weather is significantly different from the usual weather pattern.

Case study: Hurricane Katrina, 2005

Hurricane Katrina hit landfall on 29th August 2005 and quickly became known as one of the most expensive natural disasters in the history of the USA.

Over 1,800 people died and the damage was estimated at $108 billion.

Photograph of Hurricane Katrina destruction

Destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina

GCSE Subjects GCSE Subjects up down

Case Study – Hurricane Katrina

At least 1,500 people were killed and around $300 billion worth of damage was caused when Hurricane Katrina hit the south-eastern part of the USA. Arriving in late August 2005 with winds of up to 127 mph, the storm caused widespread flooding. 

Physical impacts of Hurricane Katrina

Flooding Hurricanes can cause the sea level around them to rise, this effect is called a storm surge. This is often the most dangerous characteristic of a hurricane, and causes the most hurricane-related deaths. It is especially dangerous in low-lying areas close to the coast.

There is more about hurricanes in the weather section of the Met Office website

Hurricane Katrina tracked over the Gulf of Mexico and hit New Orleans, a coastal city with huge areas below sea-level which were protected by defence walls, called levees. The hurricane’s storm surge, combined with huge waves generated by the wind, pushed up water levels around the city.

The levees were overwhelmed by the extra water, with many collapsing completely. This allowed water to flood into New Orleans, and up to 80% of the city was flooded to depths of up to six metres.

Hurricane Katrina also produced a lot of rainfall, which also contributed to the flooding.

In pictures

House and car destroyed by the hurricane

Strong winds The strongest winds during 25-30 August were over the coastal areas of Louisiana and Florida. A map of the maximum wind speeds which were recorded during the Hurricane Katrina episode is shown. Although the winds did not directly kill many people, it did produce a storm surge over the ocean which led to flooding in coastal areas and was responsible for many deaths.

Satellite Image

hurricane katrina


Fig 2. Illustration showing different wave heights on a shoreline. Image courtesy of NOAA.

Tornadoes Hurricanes can create tornadoes. Thirty-three tornadoes were produced by Hurricane Katrina over a five-day period, although only one person died due to a tornado which affected Georgia.

Impact on humans

The broken levees were repaired by engineers and the flood water in the streets of New Orleans took several months to drain away. The broken levees and consequent flooding were largely responsible for most of the deaths in New Orleans. One of the first challenges in the aftermath of the flooding was to repair the broken levees. Vast quantities of materials, such as sandbags, were airlifted in by the army and air force and the levees were eventually repaired and strengthened.

Although the USA is one of the wealthiest developed countries in the world, it highlighted that when a disaster is large enough, even very developed countries struggle to cope.

Weather Map

Fig 3. Map of America showing highest wind speeds. Image courtesy of NOAA.

Web page reproduced with the kind permission of  the Met Office

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Essay Service Examples History Hurricane Katrina

Disastrous Hurricane Katrina: Case Study

Moderating fiasco sway requires distinguishing hazard factors. The expanded weakness of the physically delicate is effectively comprehended. Subtler is the financial hazard factors, particularly inside moderately prosperous social orders. Tropical storm Katrina showed vast numbers of these dangers inside the United States. These variables incorporate neediness, home possession, poor English language capability, ethnic minorities, worker status, and high-thickness lodging. These hazard factors must be viewed as when deciding for fiasco readiness, moderation, and reaction.


The Atlantic period of Hurricane on 29 August 2005 was the fate of one the cataclysmic and deplorable tropical storm season in the history (CNN, 2018). It accompanied unsavory astonishment of Hurricane Katrina which hit North Central Coastal Gulf of the United States. Even though the United States had 65 sea tempests of Category three power or higher somewhere in the range of 1900 and 2000 yet Hurricane Katrina was an enormous Category 5 storm (Davis, Rough, Cecchine, Schaefer & Zeman, 2007). Wind speeds recorded for the focal tempest were 103 miles for every hour while it additionally had hurricane constrained breezes of 230 miles for each hour from the point of center. The pinnacle edge of the blizzard had a recorded speed of 175 miles for each hour while on Gulf Coast it had tallness of 30 feet (Davis, Rough, Cecchine, Schaefer, Zeman, 2007). Katrina did not characterize itself coastal territories but instead additionally achieved inland. Katrina Hurricane had a severe effect on human lives and their property in the influenced regions.

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina damaged public property heavily with an estimated worth of US$125 billion while it devastated around 300,000 houses (Levitt & Whitaker, 2009). Affected main cities were Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and Mississippi but Mississippi and Louisiana had the most strong blow (Levitt & Whitaker, 2009). However, the affected areas came under flood later which caused more difficulty and hard for evacuation.

Risks before Hurricane

Those of lower financial standing will, in general, live in more congested, less secure, and high-chance situations. It has been recommended that their condition gets less insurance than different districts, making an endless loop of consistently expanding danger. Autonomous of area and shape, basically low-quality lodging frequently is an intermediary for neediness and ethnic minorities and is bound to fall amid a calamity.

These hazard factors were affecting everything preceding Hurricane Katrina. In 2003, Cutter built up an across the country guide of common hazard inside the US; New Orleans was one of the more outrageous high-chance zones, arriving in the last three percentile of the country. Tropical storm Katrina approved these presumptions. Using the year 2000’s statistics information, it was found that highest blow to other areas of the New Orleans were those who were black and the population was living under the line of poverty as compared to other areas of New Orleans (Zoroaster & Richard, 2010). It is not astonishing that a review revealed that a few occupants from the neighborhoods believe that the levees were intentionally torn down to protect the influenced people of the area (Zoroaster & Richard, 2010).

‘Mississippi River Gulf Outlet’

At the point when Hurricane Katrina made landfall, it had snared east, saving the city its most exceedingly bad breezes. However, the waters from the storm found a prepared way to ambush the ‘Enormous Easy,’ on account of the development of a 76-mile trench that was finished by the United States Armed Force Engineering Corps in 1968. The Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO), was a project which could reduce the time while giving more connectivity for ocean-going vessels and machinery from travel the Coastal Gulf of Mexico to the New Orleans (Flynn, 2015).

Levees and Flood Walls

New Orleans’ essential line of resistance against the ocean and the Mississippi River has for quite some time been a levee and floodwall framework. Tragically, that framework saw little interest in the 50 years preceding Hurricane Katrina (Davis, Rough, Cecchine, Schaefer & Zeman, 2007). The city resembles a fishbowl, with the water outwardly and a large portion of a million homes within. Approximately 3 feet per inch was recorded as land depreciated for New Orleans every century, so it lies at a normal of six feet beneath ocean level, with certain areas as low as eleven feet underneath. Without the levees and floodwalls, a significant part of the city would be a shallow lake (Davis, Rough, Cecchine, Schaefer & Zeman, 2007).

Endangered Coastal Gulf Areas

Tragically, the feeling of refusal and disregard of the basic framework that prompted the close suffocating of New Orleans in 2005 keeps on imperiling numerous U.S. urban communities. Norfolk, Miami, Boston, and New York, all have the threat of rising ocean levels and environmental change alongside the probability of severe tropical storms (Flynn, 2015). Seattle is closer to Cascadia subduction zone that has a place with the Pacific Arc’s also known as Ring of Fire while Los Angeles is endangered by San Andreas Fault line as it is closer to it(Flynn, 2015). On the other hand, in America’s heartland and urban areas are also threatened due to the New Madrid Fault Line which can cause a seismic tremor anytime it is triggered (Flynn, 2015).

Evacuation before Katrina Hurricane

Open alerts are proposed to help relieve fiasco impacts and usually are masked through the media. Notwithstanding, for warnings to be viable, they should be comprehended and accepted. In the US, about 8% of the general populace does not communicate in English well, and in some real urban areas, that number is >50% (Zoroaster & Richard, 2010). Neediness is to some degree corresponding to family size, and families usually evident as a unit. The substantial family is all the while bound to be poor and have the social complexities of planning the readiness and assessment of numerous individuals’ crosswise overages. Furthermore, doubt of government specialist, typical to various socially hindered gatherings, additionally has been appeared to obstruct clearing and readiness primary leadership (Zoroaster, Richard & 2010).

Failure of Preparations

Amid Katrina, this concrete sided conduit gave a prepared way to channel the tempest flood beginning from the Gulf of Mexico for an immediate hit on New Orleans. As the typhoon came inland, the water steamrolled down the MRGO on an impact course with the Industrial Canal, causing an 800-foot break. A considerable lot of the networks toward the east of New Orleans were casualties of the overtopping of the MRGO.

The tempest floods delivered by Hurricane Katrina ruptured the levees securing New Orleans in various spots, flooding roughly 75 percent of the metropolitan territory. The more significant part of the levee disappointments was brought about by overtopping, as the tempest flood ascended over the highest point of a levee and scoured out the base of the landward dike or floodwall. Three noteworthy and expensive breaks seem to have been brought about by the disappointment of the dirt hidden the levees or distress of the earthen levee banks themselves; in a few spots, levee establishments fizzled when water levels were beneath the highest points of the ridges. Changes between ribs of contrasting statures or materials ended up being feeble focuses on the flood-assurance framework; countless washouts happened, for instance, where the flimsier of two neighboring materials was at a lower height.

Understanding the powerlessness to flood, or another natural calamity, New Orleans’ Disaster Management Organization ignored the content of the security framework preceding Hurricane or another natural calamity (Kayen, Collins, Gibbons, 2006). A lethal amount of debris was left by the floodwaters which did not just put lives in danger; it disturbed the ecosystems for animals and humans. However, all through the 1990s, government finances that may have been utilized to fix and fortify the city’s levees and flood dividers and secure the siphoning stations were seeped off for different ventures, for example, enlarging the MRGO. By the United States, Armed force Engineering Corps requested USD 22.5 million in 2004 for Tempest security ventures for New Orleans. Government sliced that spending solicitation to USD 3.9 million which was afterward reduced it to USD 3.0 million in 2005 (Mittal, 2005).

Overtopping was most dangerous on the east side of the flood-security framework, as the waters of Lake Borgne were driven west toward New Orleans, and furthermore more remote toward the south, alongside the lower compasses of the Mississippi River. Noteworthy overtopping and disintegration caused various ruptures in these regions. The greatness of overtopping was less extreme along the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (IHNC, likewise called the ‘Modern Canal’ and along the western piece of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) channel. On the other hand, overtopping in these territories caused disintegration and levees to fall. Alternatively, field perceptions estimated next to zero overtopping happened, but a significant part of the levees near Lake Pontchartrain, minor overtopping or wave splashover was seen. A rupture in the levee framework occurred at the northwest corner of the New Orleans East ensured region, close Lakefront Airport, at a perplexing change between levee sections of various statures and materials. An impression that a certain amount of leaves were fallen by overtopping might have performed better if essential subtleties were assumed. For example, protection of scouring on the inner and land side of the leaves had been developed or maintained in accordance.

Concentrates exhibited that the realized issues were influencing everything in New Orleans. Enumeration Bureau data recorded more than 150,000 Latinos in New Orleans, and more than 33% of them did not communicate in English well (Levitt & Whitaker, 2009). Episodic reports recommend that language and social boundaries kept Latinos from emptying. Verifiably, ethnic minorities and outsiders have been sufficiently skeptical of specialists that they frequently maintain a strategic distance from havens; narrative reports propose that happened following Katrina. While numerous different components blocked clearing, cover reviews found that among the individuals who understood the pre-Katrina alerts, many limited overlooked them because of doubt of the specialists (Levitt & Whitaker, 2009).

hurricane katrina case study gcse

The state should initially announce crisis and demand the President of the nation to start the aid projects from the government. The President at that point regularly liberates the assets apportioned for reproduction, recuperation, and help to the state after pronouncing a highly sensitive situation. Because of Katrina, these got a couple of days underway before it made landfall given the pre-storm harms and the seriousness of the danger presented. On the 29th of August, Katrina made landfall which prompted unforeseen damages.

Cuba fills in as a model for debacle the executives since its legislature has acknowledged essential obligation regarding the welfare of its individuals (Davis, Rough, Cecchine, Schaefer & Zeman, 2007). This reaction to catastrophe centers around the requirements of networks also, the coordination of available assets and administrations to address those issues. Duty regarding catastrophe, the arrangement is treated as an individual instead of a system or a regulatory obligation. In the United States, individuals were given the dimension of security that they actually could stand to fund, even though such strategies will leave numerous powerless and unprotected. As the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs noticed, the information to lessen hazard and peril is broadly accessible (Davis, Rough, Cecchine, Schaefer & Zeman, 2007). Without specific projects and the political will to execute the fundamental strategies, vulnerabilities will keep on existing, nonetheless.

However, the United States is probably going to keep on giving an essential obligation to nearby and state authorities, who best comprehend the circumstances as they emerge, have the sorts of abilities that will be required, and can react rapidly (Davis, Rough, Cecchine, Schaefer & Zeman, 2007). Moreover, the Constitution’s depiction of the points of confinement of government specialist, for the most part, underpins the power of the state in responding to fiascos, supremacy that stretches out to both regular citizen and National Guard responders. Nonetheless, in outrageous cataclysmic household crises, regardless of whether they be sea tempests, quakes, or psychological oppressor assaults, the reaction needs might be well past those that singular states can give, and help will be required from regular people in the national government as well as from dynamic obligation military powers (Davis, Rough, Cecchine, Schaefer & Zeman, 2007).

The U.S. Armed force Corps of Engineers played out a point by point evaluation of around 350 miles (560 km) of tropical storm levee and built up a far-reaching, organized arrangement to fix it and the siphoning stations that help New Orleans and encompassing zones. ‘Colonel Duane Gapinski of Unwatering Task Force emphasized that people should not return to flooded areas as the repairs are on their way and do not guarantee that the city will be shielded from flooding coming about because of tempests or tropical storms. He said that occupants could be putting their lives and property in danger by returning overflowed zones until additional crisis levee fixes are made. State and neighborhood pioneers were educated as evaluations are being finished, and repairs are made.

Recuperation of New Orleans was viewed as a three-stage process: first and most prompt, to unwater the city and evaluate flood security. Second, to give an interval dimension of security to get the city through tropical storm season and later high water, and over the long haul, to restore the framework to pre-sea tempest conditions. It will have a colossal measure of study, research, financing, and development.

The Corps assessed that the New Orleans zone was 80 percent unwatered (Mittal, 2005). Corps authorities evaluated the general unwatering exertion, given ordinary regular precipitation, would be finished no later than early October 2005. Typhoon Rita was by and large intently viewed now. Extra traffic in the city in the previous three days had made some deferral in voyaging work locales and moving crisis fix hardware (Mittal, 2005).

The Army Engineers Corps, in January 2007, in the wake of having visited the broad ‘Delta Works’ levee framework in the Netherlands, granted a $150 million contract to a gathering of Dutch building organizations for the assessment, structure and development the board of levees and floodwalls, exceptional conclusion structures for insurance of the networks nearby the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, principal siphoning offices and arranging thinks about for improved dimensions of flood assurance for New Orleans and southern Louisiana (Mittal, 2005).

United States with the help of the US Army Corps of Engineers, has made a $14.45 billion interest in the zone around New Orleans, after the visit of Katrina (Mittal, 2005). A portion of the undertakings include:

Moreover, by 5th September 2005, electrical power started to be reestablished to structures in the focal business locale of New Orleans on a need basis. By 8th September Entergy had reestablished 9 of 17 power producing units in the New Orleans region to support (Mittal, 2005). Entergy’s 1000 MW, Waterford and Watson plants, were still out of administration, with the Watson plant expected to require 6– 12 weeks to fix. By the next day, electrical power had been reestablished to 11% of New Orleans clients (Mittal, 2005). Likewise, authorities were arranging to have work start by 12th September for modifying twin ranges I-10 extension to New Orleans. On 6th September 2005, the Port of New Orleans, the biggest U.S. port regarding tonnage took care of, could get and support help ships (Mittal, 2005). It was evaluated that resumption of business shipments would take something like 14 days. By 7th September 2005, safe drinking water was accessible in some West Bank territories, including Algiers and the Jefferson Parish rural areas, and some water weight was accessible in New Orleans for putting out fires (Mittal, 2005). All sewage from the city was streaming untreated into the Mississippi. The Lower Mississippi River was open amid light hours to shallow draft traffic and deep draft vessels under 39 feet (Mittal, 2005). A contractual worker evacuated obstructions in the Southwest Pass, which was limiting profound draft route. The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport revived on 12th September 2005, to load traffic, with constrained traveler administration expected to continue Tuesday, September 13, 2005 (Mittal, 2005).

On the other hand, the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet was shut to deep draft vessels. The inland part was filling in as an elective course to the GIWW (Gulf Intercourse Waterways) because of the conclusion of the IHNC for shallow draft vessels (Mittal, 2005). Starter overviews showed a controlling profundity of 27 units.

Port Fourchon supported tremendous harm, yet was working to a restricted degree. Depressed vessels were not hindering the channel. Tiger Pass was shoaled to under 6 feet. This channel, approved to 14 feet gives a shorter course to vessels going toward the west from the Mississippi River close to the mouth. It is utilized by angling and supply vessels. Digging was arranged.

The Army Corps of Engineers directed starter reviews for Atchafalaya, Houma, and different channels (Mittal, 2005).

Even though Hurricane Katrina did not bargain the city of New Orleans an immediate hit on August 29, 2005, the related tempest flood encouraged disastrous disappointments of the levees and flood dividers. The Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) ruptured its levees in roughly 15 places (Kayen, Collins, & Gibbons, 2006). The real levee breaks in the city incorporate the Seventeenth Street Canal levee, the London Avenue Canal, and the vast, safe Industrial Canal, which left around 80% of the city overflowed.

While possession, the meaning of prerequisites, activity, and upkeep of the framework had a place with the Orleans Levee Board, government duty regarding New Orleans’ flood insurance plan and development has a place by bureaucratic order to the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Flooding from the ruptures put most of the city submerged for quite a long time, in numerous spots for a considerable length of time. The Corps made crisis fixes to ruptures, as siphons worked at depleting the city.

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The power or ability to begin or follow through energetically with a plan or task; enterprise and determination. Hurricane Katrina has left us with many questions and lessons. To start with: Why situational awareness was so foggy, for so long. Why all residents, especially the most helpless, were not evacuated more quickly. Why supplies and equipment and support were so slow in arriving. Why so much taxpayer money aimed at better preparing and protecting the Gulf coast was left on...

Abstract This paper goes over the different articles provided in HSEM 456 class on how poorly or well-prepared leadership was during Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, what they failed to learn from previous incidents from Hurricane Katrina and Sandy. This will go over whether or not we have improved our ability to respond and recover from disasters as so and what is to be learned from the leadership during that period. As well as what changes have been done to...

Description of Event One of the deadliest and costliest hurricanes in the history of the United States is Hurricane Katrina. In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the Gulf Coast of the United States (Brunkard et al., 2013). According to the Saffir-Simpson Scale, the storm was a category 5 hurricane, as it resulted in extensive destruction in New Orleans and the coasts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Hurricane Katrina brought in strong waves, storm surges, excessive rainfall, and highly...

At the end of August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina, a category 5 hurricane, hit the Gulf Coast and caused phenomenal damage to Florida and Louisiana- destroying a large amount of the city of New Orleans. By September of 2005, the Department of Justice established the Hurricane Katrina Task Force. The purpose of this Task Force was to detect and prosecute individuals who were trying to take advantage of disaster relief. Hurricane Katrina was not only the deadliest, but the most...

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hurricane katrina case study gcse

AQA GCSE Geography Weather and Climate Module

hurricane katrina case study gcse

Tropical Storms - Case studies

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hurricane katrina case study gcse

Hurricane Katrina

Lerne mit deinen Freunden und bleibe auf dem richtigen Kurs mit deinen persönlichen Lernstatistiken

Nie wieder prokastinieren mit unseren Lernerinnerungen.

When we think about tropical cyclones in the Atlantic basin, perhaps a few stand out in our minds, like Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Katrina was one of the strongest storms to ever make landfall in the United States. From the extensive flooding, and the mass movement of people out of the affected areas, to the large economic impact and high death toll, let's take a look at what made Hurricane Katrina the costliest hurricane in the United States' history.

Hurricane Katrina facts

Let's take a look at some of the hard hitting facts about Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Katrina was one of the biggest natural disasters to impact the United States. It affected an area of about 90,000 sq. miles/ 233,000 sq km and permanently displaced 400,000 persons. Hurricane Katrina caused an estimated US $81 billion in property damages and an estimated US $170 billion in overall damages.

Hurricane Katrina date

Hurricane Katrina was the twelfth tropical cyclone and fifth hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. It was also the third storm to turn into a major hurricane in 2005. Hurricane Katrina formed near the Bahamas as a tropical depression on 23 August 2005 and dissipated near the Great Lakes in the northern United States on 31 August 2005.

Hurricane Katrina Hurricane Katrina track on a map StudySmarter

Hurricane Katrina category

Hurricane Katrina intensified quickly, becoming a Category 1 hurricane within two days of its formation. It then went on to become a Category 3 hurricane soon after that. At its strongest, before making landfall in the gulf coast states, Hurricane Katrina was a Category 5 hurricane, according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, with maximum sustained winds exceeding 160 mph or 257 km/h.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale ranks hurricanes from category 1-5 based on their maximum sustained wind speed only. The categories are as follows:

Did you know: The centre of a tropical cyclone is called the eye?!

Hurricane Katrina affected areas

The areas (states) directly affected by Hurricane Katrina were Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. Of these, Louisiana and Mississippi experienced the most significant impacts.

Florida, Georgia and Alabama

Two days after its formation, Hurricane Katrina made its first landfall between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale in Florida as a Category 1 storm. Here, Katrina's heavy rains and winds caused flooding and damaged crops and downed trees and electricity lines. The latter left over 1 million people without electricity. The storm bands also produced a tornado which caused damage in the Florida Keys.

Western Georgia experienced heavy rains and damaging winds from Hurricane Katrina. The state was also hit by 20 tornadoes due to the hurricane, which caused two deaths and destroyed several homes and businesses.

In Alabama, there was flooding from the storm surge. Katrina also downed trees and electricity lines, resulting in power outages for up to over a week in some places. On Dauphin Island, the hurricane destroyed or damaged many beachfront homes. The bands of Katrina also produced 11 tornadoes in the state.

Hurricane Katrina cars underwater in storm surge floodwaters in Mobile Alabama StudySmarter

Mississippi and Louisiana

As stated above, Mississippi and Louisiana experienced the largest impacts from Hurricane Katrina. It made landfall in these states as a Category 3 storm.


Mississippi's gulf coast region experienced the strongest part of Katrina. While all the state's counties were affected, the three most heavily impacted were Hancock, Harrison and Jackson Counties- all located along the coast. This is because perhaps the most devastating impact of Katrina in Mississippi was the 24-28 ft/7.3- 8.5 m storm surge.

A storm surge is a temporary rise in seawater above normal sea level (often by several metres) due to a storm.

Approximately 90% of the buildings on the Biloxi-Gulfport coastline were destroyed, and there was flooding up to 6-12 miles/ 9.5-19 km inland. Although there was widespread evacuation before Katrina, some residents remained and had to resort to climbing into their attics, on top of their roofs or onto nearby trees to escape the surge waters.

Additionally, numerous floating casino barges were washed inland as a result. In other parts of Mississippi, streets and bridges were washed away. The hurricane downed trees and electricity lines and caused power outages which took up to 3 weeks to be fully restored.

Hurricane Katrina destruction of the Ocean Springs Bridge in Mississippi StudySmarter

In Louisiana, Hurricane Katrina caused catastrophic flooding, destroyed numerous buildings and downed trees and electricity lines. People were without power for many weeks. In addition, there was an extensive loss of coastal wetland due to the storm. Hurricane Katrina also affected oil production, damaging about 20 oil rigs throughout the Gulf Coast. Operations at the Louisiana Offshore Oil Platform also halted. This caused the average national gas price to exceed US $3.00 for the first time in the country's history. Louisiana also accounted for over 85% of the deaths caused by Hurricane Katrina. The south-eastern parishes of St. Tammany, Jefferson, Terrebonne, Plaquemines, Lafourche and St. Bernard, along with the city of New Orleans, experienced the most damage.

Hurricane Katrina New Orleans

When you think about Hurricane Katrina, the first thing that probably comes to mind is its impact on the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, which experienced the worst impacts of the hurricane.

New Orleans is located about 105mi/169 km north of the Gulf of Mexico and is surrounded by the Mississippi River, Lake Borgne and Lake Pontchartrain. A large part of the city of New Orleans is between 10-16 ft/3-5 metres below sea level, making it almost like a bowl. To protect the city from flooding, levees and sea walls were built along the Mississippi River and the two lakes to ensure that these water bodies don't overflow their banks in times of flood.

A levee is a ridge of sediments along the banks of a river or other water body to prevent it from flooding. Levees accumulate naturally but can also be man-made.

On 28 August 2005, approximately 1.2 million people left New Orleans as part of the Mayor's mandatory evacuation order. However, many residents either chose to remain or were unable to leave the city because they were elderly or didn't have access to transportation. Of the remaining ones, a few thousand sought shelter at either the Louisiana Superdome or the New Orleans Convention Centre. The others remained in their homes.

While New Orleans was spared a direct hit from Hurricane Katrina, the storm surge and 8-10 in/20-25 cm of rain caused 50 levees to fail because of the excess pressure. This, in turn, caused large amounts of flood water to run into the city. By the afternoon of 29 August 2005, about 20% of New Orleans was underwater, and by the next day, 80% of the city was under up to 20 ft/6 m of water. The Ninth Ward, Lakeview and St. Bernard Parish experienced the worst flooding . Many residents who remained in their homes had to be rescued by boat and some by helicopter from the roofs of their houses. However, many people died, particularly the elderly, as they could not escape the floodwaters.

The rescued were taken to the Superdome. However, they had to be relocated after the roof started leaking. There were reports of food and medical supply shortages for the displaced individuals. Hospitals had no electricity and had to find alternative locations for their patients. Looting also took place. The pump stations used to pump the water out of the city were damaged during the flooding, and therefore the water remained stagnant in New Orleans for several weeks after the passing of the storm. This in itself caused other types of health problems.

Hurricane Katrina New Orleans under flood water StudySmarter

Hurricane Katrina deaths

To date, the total number of deaths, directly and indirectly, caused by Hurricane Katrina is 1833, broken down by state in the following table.

It is estimated that more than half of the deaths related to Hurricane Katrina were people over 60 years of age.

Response to Hurricane Katrina

The response to Hurricane Katrina involved coordination between government entities at all levels, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and private volunteers. International countries also offered aid. Some, not all, responses to Hurricane Katrina were as follows:

Hurricane Katrina Members of US Marine Corps looking in the water for survivors in New Orleans StudySmarter

Authorities in the United States were criticised for responding slowly with post-disaster relief, particularly related to New Orleans.

Hurricane Katrina - Key takeaways

Frequently Asked Questions about Hurricane Katrina

--> when was hurricane katrina .

Hurricane Katrina formed on 23 August 2005 and dissipated on 31 August 2005. 

--> What areas were most affected by Hurricane Katrina? 

Louisiana and Mississippi were the most affected states. New Orleans experienced the greatest impact from the hurricane. 

--> How destructive was Hurricane Katrina? 

Hurricane Katrina causes about USD $170 billion in damages, making it the costliest disaster in the history of the United States. It also killed 1833 people. 

--> What made Hurricane Katrina deadly? 

Hurricane Katrina was deadly because it caused storm surges that caused extensive flooding far inland and in areas where many people refused to evacuate. 

--> What was done after Hurricane Katrina? 

After Hurricane Katrina relief efforts were coordinated among the US government, NGOs, private volunteers and international countries. However, the US government was criticised for its slow disaster-relief response. 

Final Hurricane Katrina Quiz

Where did Hurricane Katrina develop?

Show answer

Near Jamaica

Show question

What category storm was Hurricane Katrina when it hit Florida?

TRUE or FALSE: Hurricane Katrina caused tornadoes in Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

What is a storm surge?

A storm surge is a temporary rise in water above normal sea level as a result of a storm.

Which states were affected by Hurricane Katrina?

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi

Which states experienced the greatest impacts from Hurricane Katrina?

Louisiana and Georgia

What category storm was Hurricane Katrina when it made landfall in Mississippi?

Which city received the greatest impact from Hurricane Katrina?

Miami, Florida

What was the total death toll for Hurricane Katrina?

Which state had the highest number of deaths from Hurricane Katrina?

What was the estimated total overall damage caused by Hurricane Katrina?

USD $70 billion

TRUE or FALSE: New Orleans flooded because the levees protecting the city could not withstand the additional pressure caused by the 8-10 inches of rainfall and the 22ft storm surge. Therefore, they failed, causing flood water to flow into the city.

How many people evacuated from New Orleans the day before Hurricane Katrina hit the city?

1.2 million

TRUE or FALSE: Relief efforts were coordinated only by NGOs and international countries in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

How much money in aid was mobilized and deployed by the US federal government in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?

USD $62.3 billion

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  1. Hurricane katrina case study

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