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Hurricane Katrina Overview

Hurricane Katrina made landfall on August 29, 2005, in southeastern Louisiana, with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph. Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 105 miles from the center of the storm. Coastal storm surge flooding of 20 to 30 feet above normal tide levels, along with large and dangerous battering waves, occurred near and to the east of where the center of the storm made landfall. Widespread damage occurred, including beach erosion and damage and/or destruction of homes and infrastructure.

In the wake of this devastating event, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) initiated a project to produce high-resolution maps that show flood impacts from the storm for portions of St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, St. John the Baptist, St. Charles, Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard, and Plaquemines Parishes. The Hurricane Katrina Surge Inundation and Advisory Base Flood Elevation Maps (also referred to as “Katrina Recovery Maps”) can be viewed at the Maps link on this site. These maps show preliminary high water mark flood elevations and flood inundation limits from Hurricane Katrina.

Note: Much of the Louisiana coast was subject to surge flooding again when Hurricane Rita struck near the Louisiana-Texas line in September. Areas where Hurricane Rita’s coastal flooding was documented as being more severe than that of Katrina were mapped separately; see the Recovery Data page for information about Rita Recovery Maps.

In addition to information about Hurricane Katrina’s impacts, the Katrina Recovery Maps also show coastal Advisory Base Flood Elevations (ABFEs). These ABFEs are based on a flood frequency analysis completed by FEMA that updates the flood risk data with information on storms that have occurred in the 25+ years since the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) were published, including (but not limited to) Hurricane Katrina.

These Katrina Recovery Maps are intended to help state and local officials, as well as homeowners, to identify existing and increased flood hazards caused by Hurricane Katrina and other storms that have struck this region in the last 25 years, and to use this information during recovery and redevelopment to avoid future flood damages.

Last Updated: 
08/28/2015 - 13:52