Where did the water from Hurricane Katrina come from?

Where did the water from Hurricane Katrina come from?

The Crescent City was flooded by water from the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Pontchartrain. At one point, 80 percent of New Orleans was flooded, despite the city's typical height of six feet below sea level. Thousands of homes were destroyed and many more were damaged.

When Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005, it was a Category 3 storm with winds of 120 miles per hour. It was the most powerful hurricane to hit Louisiana in over 100 years. The damage done by Katrina is estimated to have been $20 billion dollars - four times the state's annual budget. More than half of the victims were residents of Louisiana who lost their lives or went missing while trying to escape the flooding.

Katrina's floodwaters swept away road signs, trees, and utility lines. It also carried saltwater into neighborhoods where drinking water was taken for granted. This contaminated the water supply and caused health problems for people who tried to use it for washing or cleaning their homes.

Because New Orleans has no natural defenses against floods, officials had encouraged residents to move out of low-lying areas by erecting "hurricane wall" houses far beyond the reach of flood waters. But many residents didn't leave and the walls failed to protect them.

How much water was in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina?

By August 31, eighty percent (80%) of New Orleans had been inundated by Hurricane Katrina, with some areas under 20 feet (6.1 m) of water. Floodwaters contained a vast amount of human and animal waste that contaminated the water with bacteria that can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and liver problems if not treated with clean water.

During Hurricane Katrina, Lake Pontchartrain almost reached its highest level since 1994. The lake is an important source of drinking water for the city of New Orleans and its surrounding areas. When it reaches its full capacity, which is about 42 million cubic meters (1520 billion ft3 ), it can hold more than 10 inches (25 cm) of water.

Lake Pontchartrain is a natural body of water located near the cities of New Orleans and Metairie in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. It is an elongated saltwater marsh separated from the Gulf of Mexico by a band of land called the Rigolets River runs through it. The lake covers about 35 square miles (92 km2 ) and has three major arms called Chalmette, St. Bernard, and Terrebonne. It has a maximum depth of about 15 feet (4.5 m).

New Orleans is situated on a barrier island called Pelican Island.

How long did the water stay in New Orleans after Katrina?

The floods that submerged 80 percent of New Orleans had abated by September 15, 2005, when the Landsat 7 satellite captured the top image. Pumps have been working ceaselessly to restore the water to Lake Pontchartrain in the two and a half weeks after Hurricane Katrina swamped the city. The number of people who have returned to New Orleans has reached 12,000, but many homes are still uninhabitable more than six months later.

In fact, floodwaters remained inside New Orleans even after the hurricane passed. Flooding from overtopped levees combined with rainfall from hurricanes Ivan and Rita in 2004 caused extensive damage to the city's drainage system. Without this infrastructure, even more rain would have added to the flooding that already occurred after Hurricane Katrina struck on August 29, 2005.

Levee failures also contributed to the flooding. Before the storm hit, officials warned residents that parts of the city were at risk for collapse because of weakened dikes. After the hurricane, scientists estimated that Levee District 1 alone lost about 20 feet of land.

Additionally, street flooding was widespread after the hurricane. In some areas, water remained on the streets for more than six months.

Finally, toxic chemicals used during the recovery effort have polluted local waters. For example, oil that was sprayed on damaged houses as a protective measure has leaked into nearby wetlands where it is absorbed into the food chain.

About Article Author

Bobby Anderson

Bobby Anderson is a biologist with a deep passion for preserving biodiversity. She is fascinated by the natural world and all its inhabitants, but her research focuses on mammals in particular. Bobby graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with honors in Animal Science and Environmental Studies. Bobby currently works as an Assistant Professor as she teaches courses to undergraduate students about ecology and conservation biology.

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