Hurricane Katrina, 4 Years Later…

On the morning of August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall near the Louisiana/Mississippi border as a strong category three hurricane with sustained wind gusts of 125 mph. Hurricane force winds pounded coastal areas of southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi, bringing about massive structural damage and destruction. Moreover, a catastrophic storm surge flood ensued as 24 to 27 feet of water moved ashore and precipitated widespread flooding and eventually caused the levees in the city of New Orleans to fail. Hurricane Katrina continued northward through eastern Mississippi, bringing hurricane force wind gusts into central and west-central Alabama during the afternoon and evening of August 29.

The city of New Orleans, as a result of Hurricane Katrina, was uninhabitable for weeks because of widespread wind damage and massive flooding. Residents were not allowed to return to their homes for weeks following the hurricane. In fact, the National Weather Service office in New Orleans, LA was unable to carry out operations for its forecast area; therefore, the Mobile office covered New Orleans’ area for weeks following Katrina.

A few memorable excerpts from the last statement issued by the National Weather Service in New Orleans before the hurricane hit:

MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS…PERHAPS LONGER. ATLEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALLFAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL…LEAVING THOSE HOMES SEVERELYDAMAGED OR DESTROYED.

POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS…AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.

HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY…A FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT.

A link to the entire statement issued can be found here:

Isaac Williams
WVUA-Weather

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Forecast Discussion Update 3:13 PM

We started off the day on a very warm and damp note across West Alabama. In fact, over the past 48 hours we’ve received some impressive rain amounts. The official rain total for Tuscaloosa was 0.70”. Some heavier totals were reported outside of the city. At Northwood Lake nearly an inch of rain fell according to one of our weather watchers. If you’re heading to a high school football game tonight I would plan on carrying the poncho. The chance for isolated showers and thunderstorms will continue this evening. As for tomorrow, we should wake-up to some patchy fog, low clouds, and humid conditions. The sun will peak out from time to time tomorrow, with highs in the upper 80s. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will be possible late in the day and tomorrow night.

Over the past 48 hours we’ve had lots of moisture wrapping in thanks to an upper air low rotating over the region. This low will migrate eastward as a cold front enters the state. The front will push through on Sunday producing a few more showers before much drier air arrives. We will enjoy a stretch of sunny and pleasant weather for a good portion of next week. Expect a sunny sky on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, with highs near 80 degrees. Lows will be in the middle 50s and some of the cooler valleys to our north may dip into the lower 50s. A surface high will become situated to our north. As the center of the high slides east, we will have an east to southeast flow developing by Thursday. There will be a few more clouds on Thursday and Friday, with highs in the upper 80s.

The Tropics: The upper air pattern over the eastern U.S. is guiding Tropical Storm Danny northward. This system is expected to remain a tropical storm according to the latest official forecast and it may impact parts of New England. Another strong disturbance recently emerged in the eastern Atlantic. There is a potential for this system to become better organized over the next 24 hours. The next name of the 2009 list is “Erika.”

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Wes Wyatt
Chief Meteorologist