Hurricane Katrina: The Essential Time Line

Willie Drye
for National Geographic News
September 14, 2005

TUESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2005

5 p.m.: The National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, issues its first advisory about the tropical system that will become Hurricane Katrina. The advisory notes that the season's 12th tropical depression has formed over the Bahamas. The weather system is about 350 miles (560 kilometers) east of Miami.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24

11 a.m.: The storm has strengthened, become more organized, and been given a name. It is now tropical storm Katrina, the 11th named storm of 2005, about 230 miles (370 kilometers) east of Miami. Its strongest winds are blowing at about 40 miles an hour (65 kilometers an hour).

THURSDAY, AUGUST 25

5 p.m.: Katrina has continued to strengthen and is now a hurricane. Its strongest winds are about 75 miles an hour (120 kilometers an hour), making it a Category One hurricane. The storm is about 15 miles (25 kilometers) east of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and about to make landfall.

7 p.m.: The eye of Hurricane Katrina comes ashore between North Miami Beach and Hallandale Beach on Florida's southeastern coast. The storm's top winds are 80 miles an hour (130 kilometers an hour). Falling trees kill two people.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 26

1 a.m.: Katrina weakens and is reclassified as a tropical storm. Its center is about 45 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Key Largo, Florida. Its strongest winds are about 70 miles an hour (115 kilometers an hour).

3 a.m.: The storm's center has emerged from the Florida peninsula and starts strengthening almost immediately as it touches the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico (See "Katrina's Growth Echoed 1935's "Storm of Century").

5 a.m.: Katrina reintensifies into a hurricane. Its strongest winds are about 75 miles an hour (120 kilometers an hour), and its eye is about 70 miles (115 kilometers) northwest of Key Largo. Keys residents are surprised by Katrina's strength as it passes offshore.

"We went to bed last night expecting some possible rain and woke up this morning to learn that Katrina was 75 miles [120 kilometers] north of Marathon [Florida]," says Dan Gallagher, resident of Grassy Key. "A lot of the live-aboards [people living on houseboats] in Boot Key Harbor were surprised to find their boats in new spots."

Continued on Next Page >>


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