Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
On August 29, 2005, Category 3 Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana and then continued moving northeast, impacting southern Mississippi and Alabama. Hurricane Katrina left a wake of storm damage that will never be forgotten, as it quickly became one of the five deadliest hurricanes to ever hit the United States. The storm surge produced by Katrina caused the levee system in southeast Louisiana to fail, which led to widespread coastal flooding. By August 31, nearly 80% of New Orleans was underwater. Only 26 days after Katrina made landfall, category 3 Hurricane Rita made landfall on the Texas Louisiana border. The two hurricanes caused extensive damage throughout southern Louisiana.
Response specialists from NOAA OR&R's Emergency Response Division deployed on-scene in Alexandria in response to Katrina, and provided responders with information management support by producing digital satellite imagery for search and rescue operations, salvage operations, waterway management operations, and pollution response. Katrina was responsible for nearly 300 oil and hazmat releases from pipeline and facilities across southeast Louisiana, in which the OR&R team aided U.S. Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency responders with scientific support.
OR&R personnel also reported on-scene in Austin, Texas in response to Rita and provided support through coastal flood modeling, remote sensing for posting hurricane assessment, and provided responders with scientific support for various oil releases caused by Rita.