New Orleans: The Rise Of Hurricane Katrina

1994 Words 8 Pages
On August 29th 2005, the third strongest hurricane recorded in US history struck land fall. This hurricane was called Katrina, as scientist had been tracking its progression ever since it reached a category 5 in the Gulf of Mexico, the first to do so in over 25 years (Hurricanes: Science and Society). Hurricane Katrina did not just form randomly, multiple physical factors led to the growth of Katrina and the reason for it becoming so large. Hurricane Katrina began forming on August 23, as a Tropical Depression (10) had developed near the Bahamas. This with the combination of a tropical wave in the area, which causes low air pressure to form near belts of high air pressure, or a subtropical ridge, collided and formed the Tropical Depression …show more content…
New Orleans is located in an undesirable place for incoming hurricanes, as it is directly next to the Gulf, a warm body of water to fuel the hurricanes. New Orleans is also located at a low elevation, while some of the city reaches as high as 25 feet above elevation, the majority of the city sits below sea level and in some cases even as much as 10 feet below. This is known as the “levee effect”, which allowed the city to put people in more dangerous, low lying areas of New Orleans due to the false idea that all the new levies and pumps being built could stop a massive hurricane (Laska). According to Burby in 2006, “the safe development paradox is that in trying to make hazardous areas safer the federal government has in fact substantially increased the potential for catastrophic property damages and economic losses”. (Burby)This spelled disaster for Hurricane Katrina, because if the flash flood could break the levies, the city would be under water. People’s worst nightmares became real when levies surrounding New Orleans started to fail. There were reportedly 28 failed levies within the first 24 hours of the hurricane, and a total of 50 after the following days (Morrow). In little time, over 75% of New Orleans was flooded with water. After investigations to find what caused the levies to fail, engineers found …show more content…
Some may wonder why Hurricane Katrina brought such a deadly presence because 80% of the population was evacuated. This totaled over 1.2 million people, the most ever evacuated before a Hurricane. Sadly, the large portion of people that were able to evacuate were white, leaving a large population of minority groups behind. Pre Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans had one quarter of its population living below the poverty line, compared to 13% nationwide. One in five households did not own a car, and 8% of families did not have a land telephone service. New Orleans was ranked second out of the nation’s 50 largest cities for poor families. Due to racial discrimination, the chances of these minority communities are located in hazardous areas, lack political power, and are disadvantaged for all stages of response, are high (Morrow). New Orleans was built from the bottom on segregation, as the French quarters were built for the wealthy white population of the time on higher ground, while servants lived in lower lying elevation housing. Through the 1940’s-1980’s, more land was drained and developed, where African American and poor families moved, known as “white flight”. This meant wealthier families were still living on higher elevation ground while minority families continued to move into flood susceptible areas. New

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