Hurricane Katrina

Formation of Hurricane Katrina

Meteorologist's view of Hurricane Katrina

This is the story of how Katrina formed and progressed from a meteorologist's point of view and how it became one of the most powerful storms to hit the Gulf Coast.

Katrina formed as Tropical Depression 12 on August 23, 2005 over the southeastern Bahamas as the result of an interaction of a tropical wave and the remains of Tropical Depression Ten. The next day the system was upgraded to a tropical storm and given the name Katrina. The storm headed towards Florida and only two hours before it hit land it was upgraded to a hurricane. It weakened over the land but regained hurricane status when it went through the Gulf of Mexico.
The storm rapidly intensified after entering the Gulf, in part due to the storm's movement over the warm waters of the Loop Current. On August 27, 2005 The Hurricane reached a Category 3 and became the third most powerful storm of the year. An eyewall replacement cycle disrupted the intensification, but caused the storm to nearly double in size. On the morning of August 28 the hurricane reached Category 5 and at 1:00 it reached it's highest strength. CDT that day, with maximum sustained winds of 175 mph (280 km/h) and a minimum central pressure of 902 mbar. The pressure measurement made Katrina the fourth most powerful hurricane in the Atlantic at the time, which was later surpassed by Hurricane Rita and Wilma.
Katrina made its second landfall at 6:10 a.m. CDT on August 29 as a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 125 mph (205 km/h) near Buras-Triumph, Louisiana. At landfall the hurricane force winds extended 120 miles outward from the center and the storm's central pressure was 920 mbar. It moved through southeastern Louisiana and Breton Sound, then made it's third landfall near the Louisiana/Mississippi border with 120 mph winds and still at a category three.
Katrina made its strength well into Mississippi but weakened soon after. It downgraded to a tropical depression near Clarksville, Tennessee. It's remnants were last distinguished near the Great Lakes on August 31. The resulting extratropical storm moved rapidly to the northeast and affected Ontario and Quebec.