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Hurricane Katrina was the eleventh named tropical storm fourth hurricane third major hurricane and first Category 5 hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season It was the third most powerful storm of the season behind Hurricane Wilma and Hurricane Rita and the sixth-strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic basin It first made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane just north of Miami Florida on August 25 2005 then again on August 29 along the Central Gulf Coast near Buras-Triumph Louisiana as a Category 4 storm Its storm surge soon breached the levee system that protected New Orleans from Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River Most of the city was subsequently flooded mainly by water from the lake This and other major damage to the coastal regions of Louisiana Mississippi and Alabama made Katrina the most destructive and costliest natural disaster in the history of the United States The official death toll now stands at 1322 and the damage from 70 to 130 billion topping Hurricane Andrew as the most expensive natural disaster in US history Over a million people were displaced -- a humanitarian crisis on a scale unseen in the US since the Great Depression In Louisiana the hurricanes eye made landfall at 610am CDT on Monday August 29 After 1100am CDT several sections of the levee system in New Orleans collapsed By early September people were being forcibly evacuated mostly by bus to neighboring states Federal disaster declarations blanketed 90000 square miles 233000 km of the United States an area almost as large as the United Kingdom The hurricane left an estimated five million people without power and it may take up to two months for all power to be restored On September 3 Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff described the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as probably the worst catastrophe or set of catastrophes in the countrys history referring to the hurricane itself plus the flooding of New Orleans
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