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The COVID-19 pandemic coincided with record-breaking wildfires in the western United States and a record number of hurricane landfalls in the southeastern United States. Emergency evacuation may be required for people living in areas threatened by natural disasters. Historic procedures maximizing capacity of public transport and emergency shelters may be inconsistent with quarantine and physical distancing measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not advisable to set up congregate shelters in an environment heavily impacted by a pandemic. Non-congregate shelters typically provide more effective physical distancing. Examples include buildings with single room occupancy, hotels or dormitories with private sleeping spaces but possibly shared bathroom or cooking facilities.Thousands of evacuees from Hurricane Laura were still in emergency lodgings as Hurricane Delta approached the Louisiana coast. Six-thousand from southwest Louisiana were in twelve New Orleans area hotels. Three-thousand-five-hundred remained in shelters as Hurricane Zeta approached Louisiana. A volcanic eruption on the island of Saint Vincent in April 2021 caused evacuation of sixteen-thousand people. Four-thousand evacuees were placed in eighty-nine government shelters after being tested for COVID-19, with those testing positive taken to isolation centers. Six-thousand evacuees found shelter in private homes.
Evacuation plans may be prepared for areas routinely experiencing life-threatening conditions. Texas coastal regions have standing agreements in place with inland communities that take in evacuees and people rescued from hurricanes. Port Arthur and Beaumont evacuate to San Antonio, while Galveston evacuates to Austin. The state provides buses to transport people to the partner cities and towns where they are checked in and taken to government-paid hotel or motel rooms where families can be better isolated than in congregate shelters. The city's costs for the hotels, like emergency shelters, were expected to be reimbursable with disaster funds from the federal government. Texas increased its contracted number of buses, because a bus that might previously have transported fifty people may seat only fifteen or twenty with physical distancing. Masks were required on buses and were provided to those who don't have them. As hotels filled to capacity in the normal evacuation cities, evacuees were urged to stay on the road north toward Dallas. Evacuees were checked for fevers before getting on the bus transporting them.
Residents in the projected path of hurricanes were encouraged stockpile food and water for two weeks, and to prepare an emergency evacuation kit including everything needed to survive unassisted for three days with prescription medications for a full month. Evacuees coming to shelters were encouraged to bring extra clothing, pillows, blankets, other comfort items and important documents.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended adding the following items to an emergency evacuation supply kit:
Some large indoor shelters were replaced with evacuation check-in points where evacuees were given hotel room vouchers, while others were assigned dormitory rooms at colleges where classes had been cancelled.One-hundred-thousand evacuees from Orange County's Silverado Fire were placed in hotels and motels instead of large community centers. Evacuees arriving by car lined up in the parking lot and remained in their vehicle during the screening. Those arriving by foot or bicycle, or dropped off by a taxi or ride-share service were to maintain physical distancing and stay 6 feet away from other people. Arriving evacuees were screened for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure by Public Health or other qualified personnel. COVID-19 positive individuals and members of their household were routed or transported to the most appropriate shelter site. Individuals identified as COVID-19 positive or symptomatic, and/or exposed to COVID-19, were not sheltered with the general population.
Locations receiving evacuees may establish a medical shelter for evacuees with COVID-19 symptoms or other health needs. Mississippi opened shelters including the Mississippi State Medical Needs Shelterin Wiggins. Admission to the Mississippi State Medical Needs Shelter is evaluated based on the following criteria:
The American Red Cross published Pre-Landfall Shelter Operations in COVID-19 Pandemic guidelines.Red Cross physical distancing guidelines for congregate shelters may reduce historic shelter capacity by 60 percent. Emergency shelter personnel followed CDC official guidance, local health officer orders, and best practices to protect shelter guests and workers and reduce the rate of transmission of COVID-19. Modifications to shelter operations include:
United States gulf coast evacuees were urged to go to a friend or relative's home or a hotel, and consider the shelter a last resortbecause of COVID-19 risks; although shelters might open for families, who could be housed together in tents inside shelter facilities if absolutely necessary.
Hurricane Lili was the second costliest, deadliest, and strongest hurricane of the 2002 Atlantic hurricane season, only surpassed by Hurricane Isidore, which affected the same areas around a week before Lili. Lili was the twelfth named storm, fourth hurricane, and second major hurricane of the 2002 Atlantic hurricane season. The storm developed from a tropical disturbance in the open Atlantic on September 21. It continued westward, affecting the Lesser Antilles as a tropical storm, then entered the Caribbean. As it moved west, the storm dissipated while being affected by wind shear south of Cuba, and regenerated when the vertical wind shear weakened. It turned to the northwest and strengthened up to category 2 strength on October 1. Lili made two landfalls in western Cuba later that day, and then entered the Gulf of Mexico. The hurricane rapidly strengthened on October 2, reaching Category 4 strength that afternoon. It weakened rapidly thereafter, and hit Louisiana as a Category 1 hurricane on October 3. It moved inland and dissipated on October 6.
Hurricane Katrina was a large Category 5 Atlantic hurricane that caused over 1,800 deaths and $125 billion in damage in late August 2005, particularly in the city of New Orleans and the surrounding areas. It was at the time the costliest tropical cyclone on record and is now tied with 2017's Hurricane Harvey. The storm was the twelfth tropical cyclone, the fifth hurricane, and the third major hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, as well as the fourth-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record to make landfall in the contiguous United States.
As the center of Hurricane Katrina passed southeast of New Orleans on August 29, 2005, winds downtown were in the Category 1 range with frequent intense gusts. The storm surge caused approximately 23 breaches in the drainage canal and navigational canal levees and flood walls. As mandated in the Flood Control Act of 1965, responsibility for the design and construction of the city's levees belongs to the United States Army Corps of Engineers and responsibility for their maintenance belongs to the Orleans Levee Board. The failures of levees and flood walls during Katrina are considered by experts to be the worst engineering disaster in the history of the United States. By August 31, 2005, 80% of New Orleans was flooded, with some parts under 15 feet (4.6 m) of water. The famous French Quarter and Garden District escaped flooding because those areas are above sea level. The major breaches included the 17th Street Canal levee, the Industrial Canal levee, and the London Avenue Canal flood wall. These breaches caused the majority of the flooding, according to a June 2007 report by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The flood disaster halted oil production and refining which increased oil prices worldwide.
The article covers the Hurricane Katrina effects by region, within the United States and Canada. The effects of Hurricane Katrina, in late August 2005, were catastrophic and widespread. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history, leaving at least 1,836 people dead, and a further 135 missing. The storm was large and had an effect on several different areas of North America.
Criticism of the government response to Hurricane Katrina consisted primarily of condemnations of mismanagement and lack of preparation in the relief effort in response to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Specifically, there was a delayed response to the flooding of New Orleans, Louisiana.
The disaster recovery response to Hurricane Katrina included federal government agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the United States Coast Guard (USCG), state and local-level agencies, federal and National Guard soldiers, non-governmental organizations, charities, and private individuals. Tens of thousands of volunteers and troops responded or were deployed to the disaster; most in the affected area but also throughout the U.S. at shelters set up in at least 19 states.
Hurricane Katrina had many social effects, due the significant loss and disruption of lives it caused. There were above 1,800 lives lost and over 400,000 homeless people. The hurricane left hundreds of thousands of people without access to their homes or jobs, it separated people from relatives, and caused both physical and mental distress on those who suffered through the storm and its aftermath, such as Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
This article contains a historical timeline of the events of Hurricane Katrina on August 23–30, 2005 and its aftermath.
Hurricane Katrina struck the United States on August 29, 2005, causing over a thousand deaths and extreme property damage, particularly in New Orleans. The incident affected numerous areas of governance, including disaster preparedness and environmental policy.
Hurricane Rita was the most intense tropical cyclone on record in the Gulf of Mexico and the fourth-most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded. Part of the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, which included three of the top ten most intense Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded, Rita was the seventeenth named storm, tenth hurricane, and fifth major hurricane of the 2005 season. It was also the earliest until Tropical Storm Rene in 2020. Rita formed near The Bahamas from a tropical wave on September 18, 2005 that originally developed off the coast of West Africa. It moved westward, and after passing through the Florida Straits, Rita entered an environment of abnormally warm waters. Moving west-northwest, it rapidly intensified to reach peak winds of 180 mph (285 km/h), achieving Category 5 status on September 21. However, it weakened to a Category 3 hurricane before making landfall in Johnson's Bayou, Louisiana, between Sabine Pass, Texas and Holly Beach, Louisiana, with winds of 115 mph (185 km/h). Rapidly weakening over land, Rita degenerated into a large low-pressure area over the lower Mississippi Valley by September 26th.
This article covers the details of the Preparations for Hurricane Katrina, a major category 5 hurricane that devastated parts of New Orleans, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, as well as the Hurricane Pam simulation and NWS forecasts that led to the U.S. government's decision to establish a Bipartisan Congressional Committee to investigate the country's preparedness for and response to Hurricane Katrina.
The Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS) was a bi-partisan initiative in the United States House of Representatives to require states seeking Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance to accommodate pets and service animals in their plans for evacuating residents facing disasters. Introduced by Congressmen Tom Lantos (D-California) and Christopher Shays (R-Connecticut) on September 22, 2005, the bill passed the House of Representatives on May 22, 2006 by a margin of 349 to 29. Technically an amendment to the Stafford Act, it was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 6, 2006. The bill is now Public Law 109-308.
The Louisiana Superdome was used as a "shelter of last resort" for those in New Orleans unable to evacuate from the city when Hurricane Katrina struck on August 29, 2005.
Hurricane Gustav was the second most destructive hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. The seventh tropical cyclone, third hurricane, and second major hurricane of the season, Gustav caused serious damage and casualties in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Cuba and the United States. Gustav caused at least $8.31 billion (2008 USD) in damages.
The effects of Hurricane Georges in Louisiana included $30.1 million in damage and three deaths. Forming from a tropical wave over the Atlantic Ocean, Georges attained a peak intensity of 155 mph (250 km/h) on September 20, 1998. Over the following several days, the storm tracked through the Greater Antilles and later entered the Gulf of Mexico on September 28, the Category 2 storm made landfall in Mississippi before dissipating on October 1. Before landfall, about 500,000 residents in Louisiana evacuated from low-lying areas. The mayor of New Orleans declared a state of emergency to allow federal assistance into the state. After nearly 1.5 million people were urged to evacuate coastal areas, officials described the evacuation as "probably the largest [...] we have ever achieved".
The effects of Hurricane Georges in Mississippi included $676.8 million in damages but no fatalities. Hurricane Georges was a Category 2 storm at landfall in Mississippi during the 1998 Hurricane season.
Hurricane evacuation is the immediate and rapid movement of people away from the threat or actual occurrence of a hurricane. County judges, emergency managers and other officials may recommend a voluntary evacuation or order a mandatory evacuation.
Hurricane Hanna was the first of a record-tying six Atlantic hurricanes to make landfall in the United States in one year. The eighth named storm and first hurricane of the extremely active 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, Hanna developed from a tropical wave originating near Hispaniola. This disturbance dropped heavy rain upon parts of Hispaniola, Cuba, and Florida. The wave gradually became more organized and developed into a tropical depression in the central portion of the Gulf of Mexico. The depression strengthened into a tropical storm on July 24, setting a new record for the earliest eighth-named storm in the basin, getting its name 10 calendar days before the previous record holder, Tropical Storm Harvey of 2005. Hanna steadily intensified as it drifted toward Southern Texas, becoming the season's first hurricane early on July 25. It then began to quickly strengthen just before making landfall at 22:00 UTC later that day as a high-end Category 1 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph (150 km/h) and a minimum central pressure of 973 mbar. Hanna weakened quickly as it moved inland and turned west-southwest, eventually dissipating over Mexico on July 26.
Hurricane Sally was a destructive and slow-moving Atlantic hurricane which was the first hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. state of Alabama since Ivan in 2004, coincidentally on the same date in the same place. The eighteenth named storm, and seventh hurricane of the extremely active 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, Sally developed from an area of disturbed weather which was first monitored over the Bahamas on September 10. The system grew a broad area of low-pressure on September 11, and was designated as a tropical depression late that day. Early the next day, the depression made landfall at Key Biscayne, and subsequently strengthened into Tropical Storm Sally that afternoon. Moderate northwesterly shear prevented significant intensification for the first two days, but convection continued to grow towards the center and Sally slowly intensified. On September 14, a center reformation into the center of the convection occurred, and data from a hurricane hunter reconnaissance aircraft showed that Sally rapidly intensified into a strong Category 1 hurricane. However, an increase in wind shear and upwelling of colder waters halted the intensification and Sally weakened slightly on September 15 before turning slowly northeastward. Despite this increase in wind shear, it unexpectedly re-intensified, reaching Category 2 status early on September 16, before making landfall at peak intensity at 09:45 UTC on September 16, near Gulf Shores, Alabama, with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (175 km/h) and a minimum central pressure of 965 millibars (28.5 inHg). The storm rapidly weakened after landfall, before transitioning into an extratropical low at 12:00 UTC the next day. Sally's remnants lasted for another day as they moved off the coast of the Southeastern United States, before being absorbed into another extratropical storm on September 18.
Hurricane Delta was the record-tying fourth named storm of 2020 to make landfall in Louisiana, as well as the record-breaking tenth named storm to strike the United States in that year. The twenty-sixth tropical cyclone, twenty-fifth named storm, tenth hurricane, and third major hurricane of the record-breaking 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, Delta formed from a tropical wave which was first monitored by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) on October 1. Moving westward, the tropical wave began to quickly organize. Due to its imminent threat to land, it was designated a potential tropical cyclone late on October 4. The next day, the system was sufficiently organized to be designated as Tropical Depression Twenty-six and soon thereafter, Tropical Storm Delta. Extreme rapid intensification ensued throughout October 5 into October 6, with Delta becoming a Category 4 hurricane within 28 hours of attaining tropical storm status. The rate of intensification was the fastest in the Atlantic basin since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. After peaking in intensity however, an unexpected increase in wind shear and dry air quickly weakened the small storm before it made landfall in Puerto Morelos, Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph (165 km/h) winds. It weakened some more over land before emerging into the Gulf of Mexico, where it was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane. After that, it began to restrengthen, regaining Category 3 status late on October 8. It then turned northward and reached a secondary peak intensity of 953 mb and winds of 120 mph early on October 9. Delta then began to turn more north-northeastward into an area of cooler waters, higher wind shear, and dry air, causing it to weaken back to Category 2 status. Delta then made landfall at 23:00 UTC near Creole, Louisiana with winds of 100 mph (155 km/h) and a pressure of 970 mb (28.64 inHg). The storm began to weaken more rapidly after landfall, becoming post-tropical just 22 hours later.