A Look Back: Devastating Hurricane Season of 2005

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This year is the 10th anniversary of the devastating and record-breaking 2005 hurricane season. We had 28 named storms that year… a few you may remember… including Dennis, Irene, Katrina, Rita, Wilma, and a few Greek letter names since we ran out of our own alphabet.

The 28 named storms that year stand as the record most for the Atlantic. The previous record was 21 in 1933.

Also new records in 2005… 15 hurricanes formed… and seven of those reached major hurricane status.

Six hurricanes made a direct strike on the U.S. in 2005: Cindy… Dennis… Katrina… Ophelia… Rita and Wilma.

The most devastating was hurricane Katrina… responsible for an estimated 1,200 deaths in the United States. Even though Katrina had weakened a little before landfall along the northern gulf coast… its large size and previous extreme intensity sent a huge storm surge into the Mississippi… southeast Louisiana and Alabama coasts.

The surge left behind catastrophic destruction along the coast of Mississippi and stressed the levees protecting New Orleans… causing them to fail. This resulted in 80 percent of New Orleans with water depths up to 20 feet.

Also… hurricane Wilma set a record for the lowest barometric pressure ever recorded in the Atlantic basin in October of 2005. Barometric pressure is used to help measure the intensity of a hurricane. In general… the lower the pressure in a hurricane… the stronger its winds.

The pressure reading of 882 millibars was recorded while Wilma was a category 5 in the western Caribbean.

Ironically… hurricane Wilma was also the last major hurricane to strike the U.S.… it did so almost 118 months ago.

This is the longest span of time in which no major hurricane has struck the mainland U.S. in NOAA hurricane records going back to 1851.

The total damage cost for the four major hurricanes that made  U.S. landfall in 2005 was in excess of $143 billion.

A large amount of this was caused by hurricane Katrina… which cost an estimated $108 billion alone.

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