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Hurricane Katrina Erodes the U.S. Gulf Coast
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
Gulf Coast cities weren’t the only land surfaces to take a beating
from Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Barrier islands stretching from
Texas to Florida were also scoured by the wind and waves of the powerful
storm. Permanent changes to the shape and elevation of Timbalier Island
and its northeastern companions are visible in this pair of
infrared-enhanced images from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission
and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite.
Timbalier Island, the largest island pictured here, sits at the
interface between the Gulf of Mexico (south) and Terrebonne Bay (north)
along the Louisiana coast southwest of New Orleans. Compared to the
image from 2000 (bottom), a large swath of bright sand dominates the
eastern side of Timbalier Island in the September 13 image, having
either been piled there or exposed by waves and storm surge. To the
east-northeast, two small, curving islands have disappeared completely,
while farther north, the fierce seas turned two small slots in a barrier
island into a single large gap.
NASA images courtesy Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data obtained courtesy of the NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team