Residents wait to be rescued from the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005 in New Orleans. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip,Pool)
Aug. 24, 2005
Tropical Depression 12 strengthens into Tropical Storm Katrina over the Central Bahamas, and a hurricane warning is issued for the southeastern Florida coast.
Aug. 25, 2005
Hurricane Katrina strikes Florida between Hallandale Beach and North Miami Beach as a Category 1 hurricane with 130 km/h winds.
Aug. 26, 2005
Katrina weakens over land into a tropical storm, before moving out over the Gulf of Mexico. It grows to a Category 2 hurricane with 160 km/h winds, veering north and west toward Mississippi and Louisiana. 10,000 National Guard troops are dispatched across the Gulf Coast.
Aug. 27, 2005
Eleven people die in Florida. Katrina becomes a Category 3 storm, with 185 km/h winds, and a hurricane warning is issued for Louisiana's southeastern coast, including New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain, and for the northern Gulf coast. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin declares a state of emergency and urges residents in low-lying areas to evacuate. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour declares a state of emergency. A mandatory evacuation is ordered for Hancock County, 65 kilometres east of New Orleans on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Coastal Gulf residents jam freeways and gas stations as they rush to escape.
Aug. 28, 2005
Katrina grows into a Category 5 storm with 260 km/h winds, and heads for the northern Gulf coast. Mayor Nagin orders a mandatory evacuation for New Orleans, but 10 shelters are also set up, including the Superdome, for those unable to leave. Evacuation orders are posted all along the Mississippi coast. Alabama Governor Bob Riley declares a state of emergency.
Aug. 29, 2005
Katrina, now a Category 4 hurricane with 230 km/h winds, makes landfall near Buras, La., at 6:10 a.m. CT (7:10 a.m. ET). U.S. President Bush makes emergency disaster declarations for Louisiana and Mississippi, freeing up federal funds. Katrina rips two holes in the Superdome's roof, with some 10,000 people inside. At least eight Gulf Coast refineries shut down or reduce operations. Airports close in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, La., Biloxi, Miss., Mobile, Ala., and Pensacola, Fla. Hundreds of flights are canceled or diverted.
Aug. 30, 2005
The death toll in Mississippi rises to more than 100. Two levees break in New Orleans and water pours in, covering 80 per cent of the city and rising in some areas to six metres deep. Many people climb onto roofs to escape. Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco says everyone still in New Orleans - an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 people - must be gotten out. Crowds swell at the Superdome and the convention centre in New Orleans. Rescuers in helicopters and boats pick up hundreds of stranded people in New Orleans, and reports of looting begin to emerge. About 40,000 people are in American Red Cross shelters, not including in New Orleans. President Bush cuts short his vacation.
Aug. 31, 2005
Nagin offers a startling estimate of New Orleans' death toll: "Minimum, hundreds. Most likely, thousands," he says. "At first light, the devastation is greater than our worst fears," says Blanco, Louisiana's governor. Looting grows dramatically, with people using a forklift to smash into one pharmacy. Blanco asks the White House to send more help, and New Orleans police are called off search-and-rescue missions to combat out-of-control looting. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt declares a federal health emergency throughout the Gulf Coast, sending in medical supplies and workers. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates it will be at least 30 days or more before New Orleans will be pumped out. Bush authorizes a draw-down from the nation's Strategic Petroleum reserve, as gasoline prices surge above $3 US per gallon and shortages crop up. Five offshore Louisiana oil rigs are reported missing and two more are adrift. An estimated 52,000 people are in Red Cross shelters, with an additional 25,000 in the Superdome, where conditions are worsening by the hour. The first busloads of victims leave the Superdome for the Astrodome in Houston, more than 500 kilometres away. The Pentagon mounts one of largest search-and-rescue operations in American history, sending in four Navy ships with emergency supplies. Water levels finally stop rising in New Orleans, and engineers work to close a 15-metre gap in a failed floodwall.
Sept. 1, 2005
Looting, carjacking and other violence spreads, and the military decides to increase National Guard deployment to 30,000. Outside the New Orleans Convention Center, the sidewalks are packed with people without food, water or medical care, waiting for buses that do not come. Tempers flare. Nagin, the New Orleans mayor, calls the situation critical and issues "a desperate SOS" for more buses. Crowds at the Superdome swell to 30,000, with another 25,000 at the convention centre. The first buses arrive at the Houston Astrodome. Elsewhere, 76,000 people are in Red Cross shelters. Violence in the region escalates, with rescue boats being stolen by marauders, and shots fired at helicopters that are bringing out hospital patients. Doctors at two New Orleans hospitals plead for help, saying their food, water and power are almost gone. Helicopters evacuate up to 600 patients but an estimated 1,500 others are left behind. The death toll in Mississippi hits 126. Bush asks his father, and former President Clinton, to lead a fund-raising campaign for victims. Texas agrees to take in 75,000 people, and 600 massive sand bags arrive to help shore up the broken levees of New Orleans.
Sept. 2, 2005
President Bush tours the Gulf Coast area and acknowledges the failure so far of government relief efforts, saying "the results are not acceptable." Thousands of National Guardsmen arrive in New Orleans bringing food, water and weapons: they are greeted with a mix of gratitude and rage. Explosions rock a chemical storage plant in New Orleans and other scattered fires break out. Black groups and leaders -including Jesse Jackson, the NAACP and the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus- contend that aid has been slow to arrive because of indifference to black suffering. Congress approves $10.5 billion US to cover the immediate rescue and relief efforts. The Houston Astrodome is declared full, and Texas opens up two more giant centres. Fifteen airlines get permission to fly as many as 25,000 victims out of New Orleans to San Antonio, Texas, and Air Canada dispatches a passenger jet to New Orleans with water and supplies. The Canadian government says 103 Canadians are stuck in the Gulf Coast, with nine unaccounted for: Stockwell Day criticizes the government for not bringing out the Canadians before the hurricane, and Prime Minister Paul Martin says everything possible is being done to get them out now. More than 50 nations -including Canada- pledge to help, and many U.S. states and Canadian provinces offer to take in survivors. The Canadian Red Cross estimates that so far Canadians have donated over $1 million to help survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
Sept. 3, 2005
President Bush orders 7,200 more soldiers and marines to the Gulf Coast, and the National Guard sends an additional 10,000 as well - bringing its total to 40,000. The National Guard says itís served more than 70,000 meals outside the convention centre, and has 130,000 more on hand. Planes, trains and buses continue to bring people out of the Superdome and convention centre, and the head of FEMA says more than 25,000 residents have been brought out since Sept. 2. The U.S. Coast Guard says that since Katrina hit, it has it has rescued a total of 9,500 people. The New Orleans police report that 200 of their 1,500 officers have walked off the job in frustration, and two others have committed suicide. The U.S. Labour Department announces an emergency grant of up to $62 million US, to provide work for dislocated workers in the devastated parts of Louisiana - itís expected to provide as many as 10,000 temporary jobs.
Sept. 4, 2005
The last 300 victims in the Louisiana Superdome finally get out, with a few pockets of stragglers remaining in the streets around the convention centre. The Canadian government announces that 13 Canadians were brought out of New Orleans Friday, with 90 still waiting. Paramedics begin carting away the New Orleans dead. Governor Rick Perry says Texas may not be able to take in many more than the 220,000 hurricane victims itís already got, and 25 Canadian Red Cross workers arrive in Houston, with 12 more to come soon. Preparations continue in Halifax to send to the Gulf Coast 1,000 Canadian Forces personnel, three Navy ships and a Coast Guard vessel. Carnival Cruise Lines announces it will cancel cruises on three of its ships so they can be used to house about 7,000 Katrina victims. Governor Kathleen Blanco declares a state of public health emergency, and says the Louisiana death toll will likely be in the thousands. A shelter in Biloxi, Miss., is closed after more than 20 residents fall ill, possibly with dysentery. The current Mississippi death toll is 144.
Sept. 5, 2005
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin now says the New Orleans body count may have reached 10,000: the official toll is 59, and local officials believe thousands remain in the area. Rescuers in boats, helicopters and military vehicles continue house-to-house searches. Residents of Louisianaís Jefferson Parish are allowed to return to salvage whatís left of their belongings: they can stay until Wednesday. The U.S. Army says it has closed one major gap in the levees breached by Hurricane Katrina and is close to repairing a second. Well over 100 deaths have been confirmed in Mississippi, with many more people unaccounted for. Bush returns to the region for the second time and says "all levels of government are doing the best they can." Former presidents Bush and Clinton announce a fund for victims, similar to the one they spearheaded following the Asian tsunami. The New Orleans police now say 500 of their officers are unaccounted for, and reinforcements arrive from around the United States. The U.S. military dispatches 4,700 more active-duty troops to join relief efforts by Tuesday, up from the 2,500 announced Saturday. Hurricane victims are given more than 100,000 knockoff items seized by federal customs officials, including counterfeit and abandoned clothing, toys, and even dog food. European countries prepare to send aid teams, food rations, water pumps and cruise ships. BP Plc says it has restarted oil production at some of its Gulf of Mexico facilities which had been shut due to the hurricane. And South Korea and Australia voice frustration that U.S. relief efforts have prevented them from rescuing their citizens.
Sept. 6, 2005
President Bush and the U.S. Congress pledge separate investigations into the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, while in Louisiana officials complain bureaucracy is hampering efforts to help. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers begins pumping out New Orleans, and says itís now 60 per cent under water - down from 80 per cent the previous day. Rescue crews continue looking for survivors, some of whom refuse to leave, while firefighters battle four major fires. Police say there are fewer than 10,000 people left in New Orleans, and the Army describes the streets as "secure." FEMA announces victims will be given debit cards so they can start buying necessities. Former presidents Bush and Clinton visit the Astrodome. The Canadian government says Canada is contributing ďtens of millions of dollarsĒ worth of aid. Four ships loaded with emergency supplies and 1,000 sailors leave Halifax, and are expected to arrive on the Gulf Coast by the end of the week. The U.S. Department of Labour announces it will put up to $75 million towards creating jobs for hurricane survivors who have been evacuated to Texas. This is in addition to the $62.1 million already announced for Louisiana, $50 million for Mississippi and $4 million for Alabama.
Sept. 7, 2005
Police and soldiers go house to house in New Orleans to make the last 10,000 holdouts leave the shattered city, with Mayor Ray Nagin ordering them to use force if necessary. Testing confirms bacteria in the floodwaters is at least 10 times higher than acceptable safety levels. Floodwaters in New Orleans continue to recede, with only 23 of 148 pumps working. The U.S. Congressional Budget Office predicts that Katrina will cost the United States 400,000 jobs, a full percentage point in economic growth for the rest of the year, and a 40 per cent spike in gasoline prices this month. The Canadian ships heading to the Gulf Coast may need to duck into port or venture further into the Atlantic to avoid Hurricane Ophelia, which is expected to gain strength by Friday.
Sept. 8, 2005
Authorities now say the Katrina death toll may turn out to be lower than feared: Mississippi has recorded 201 deaths, Louisiana 83, and other states much lower numbers. Vice President Dick Cheney visits the region amid continued criticism of the government's sluggish response to the disaster. Congress approves an additional US $51.8 billion in emergency aid, and Bush declares Sept. 16 a national day of prayer. The Army Corps says New Orleans is still about 60 per cent flooded. Ophelia strengthens into a hurricane, 110 km off the northeast Florida coast. A Mexican army convoy rolls into Texas with food, water and medicine for Katrina victims - making it the first Mexican military operation on American soil in 90 years.
Sept. 9, 2005
Fewer bodies than expected are being found in New Orleans, and engineers there predict it will take a month for the city to dry out. FEMA ends its debit card program, and director Mike Brown is sent back to Washington amid charges he bungled the recovery operation and also padded his resume. He's replaced by Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad W. Allen. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports it has dug up a 400-page report by experts who were commissioned by FEMA last year to simulate the effects of a Category 3 hurricane upon New Orleans. The report predicted flooding, evacuations, the destruction of hundreds of thousands of buildings, and tens of thousands of deaths and injuries. As the first planeload of 100 Louisiana National Guardsmen returns home from Iraq, officials say the National Guard could've responded more quickly to Katrina, if Mississippi and Louisiana Guardsmen had never been sent overseas. The Louis Armstrong International Airport says it will re-open Sept. 19. The U.S. National Hurricane Center say Ophelia may hit land as a Category 1 hurricane on South Carolina's southern coast. And the University of Moncton joins other Canadian universities, offering to take in its "Cajun cousins," displaced students from Louisiana.
Sept. 10, 2005
Experts now say the costs of the Katrina cleanup and recovery are certain to climb to $200 billion US in the coming weeks, and may exceed $300 billion US. The U.S. National Hurricane Centre posts a hurricane watch for a 480 km stretch of the U.S. coastline southeast of Charleston, S.C., as tropical storm Ophelia strengthens into a hurricane again.
Sept. 11, 2005
As Americans remember the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York, the Bush administration comes under fire for its handling of Katrina and its aftermath. The Governor of North Carolina declares a state of emergency and issues a mandatory evacuation order for parts of the state, as Hurricane Ophelia hovers off the coast of the southeastern U.S.
Sept. 12, 2005
Mike Brown resigns from FEMA, and is replaced by David Paulison, a career firefighter who headed FEMA's emergency preparedness force before getting the top job. On President Bush's third visit to the Gulf region since the hurricane struck there, the president insists skin colour was not a factor in the federal government's hurricane response. New Orleans is now 50 per cent flooded, and recovery teams have found a total of about 200 bodies - far fewer than originally expected. Swiss Reinsurance, the world's second-largest reinsurance company, doubles its estimate of claims the global insurance industry will face from Katrina, to about $40 billion US.
Sept. 13, 2005
U.S. President George Bush says he takes responsibility for the federal government's flawed response to Hurricane Katrina. Meanwhile, the owners of a nursing home were charged in the deaths of dozens of patients killed by Katrina's floodwaters, and the New Orleans mayor warns that the city is broke, and unable to make its next payroll.
Sept. 14, 2005
People displaced from three Louisiana cities - Gretna, Westwego and Lafitte - are allowed to go home for the first time since Hurricane Katrina struck.
Sept. 15, 2005
Mayor Ray Nagin says parts of the city of New Orleans will reopen for business in a week. Meanwhile, some progress is made in restoring power and water service and the death toll in Louisiana climbed to 474.