Hurricane Katrina Arrives

Hurricane Katrina Arrives

Hurricane Katrina moved ashore over southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi early on August 29, 2005, as an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm. With winds of 135 miles per hour (217 kilometers per hour), a powerful storm surge, and heavy rains, Katrina pounded the U.S. Gulf Coast, triggering extensive life-threatening flooding. This GOES image shows the storm as it moved over southern Mississippi at 9:02 a.m. The eye of the storm was due east of New Orleans, Louisiana. Katrina moved north into Mississippi, and was expected to track quickly northeast across the United States into Eastern Canada over the first part of the week.

By mid-afternoon on August 29, Katrina had weakened into a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 95 mph (153 km/hr). A mere 24 hours earlier, Katrina had been one of the most powerful storms ever observed in the Atlantic Basin. The above animation tracks the storm’s degradation from a Category 5 storm on August 28, to a Category 1 storm on August 29 as the storm spent its fury on Louisiana and Mississippi.

The first image in the animation was taken at 7:15 p.m. CDT on August 28. At this time, Katrina was well-organized, with a large eye. The storm had winds of 160 mph (258 km/hr) with stronger gusts and a central pressure of 902 millibars. The lower the air pressure associated with a hurricane, the more powerful the storm tends to be. Since records began, only three storms have ever had lower air pressures. Katrina was a very powerful and extremely dangerous Category 5 storm.

As the storm moved north through the night, it weakened slightly into a Category 4 storm before slamming ashore over southeastern Louisiana around 6 a.m. As the storm moved ashore during the day, it gradually lost its distinctive eye and weakened to the Category 1 storm seen in the final frame, taken at 2:45 p.m. on August 29.

For more images of Hurricane Katrina, please visit the Natural Hazards section of the Earth Observatory. For more information about Katrina, see the National Hurricane Center web site.

Images courtesy GOES Project Science Office.