NEW ORLEANS – A day-by-day look at Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath:
Wednesday, Aug. 24:
— Tropical Depression 12 strengthens into Tropical Storm Katrina over the Central Bahamas; a hurricane warning is issued for the southeastern Florida coast.
Thursday, Aug. 25:
— Hurricane Katrina strikes Florida between Hallandale Beach and North Miami Beach as a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds.
Friday, Aug. 26:
— Katrina weakens over land to a tropical storm before moving out over the Gulf of Mexico. It grows to a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds, veering north and west toward Mississippi and Louisiana.
— 10,000 National Guard troops are dispatched across the Gulf Coast.
Saturday, Aug. 27:
— Eleven people dead in Florida from hurricane-related causes.
— Katrina becomes a Category 3 storm, with 115 mph winds; 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 Gov. Haley Barbour declares a state of emergency. A mandatory evacuation is ordered for Hancock County.
— Coastal Gulf residents jam freeways and gas stations as they rush to evacuate.
Sunday, Aug. 28:
— Katrina grows into a Category 5 storm with 160 mph winds and heads for the northern Gulf coast.
— 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 Gov. Bob Riley declares a state of emergency.
Monday, Aug. 29:
— Katrina, a Category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds, makes landfall near Buras, La., at 6:10 a.m. CDT (7:10 a.m. EDT).
— President Bush makes emergency disaster declarations for Louisiana and Mississippi, freeing up federal funds.
— Katrina rips two holes in the Superdome's roof. Some 10,000 storm refugees are inside.
— At least eight Gulf Coast refineries shut down or reduce operations.
— Airports close in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Biloxi, Mobile and Pensacola. Hundreds of flights are canceled or diverted.
Tuesday, Aug. 30:
— The hurricane death toll in Mississippi rises to more than 100.
— Two levees break in New Orleans and water pours in, covering 80 percent of the city and rising to 20 feet deep in some areas. Many people climb onto roofs to escape.
— Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco says everyone still in New Orleans — an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 people — must be evacuated. Crowds swell at the Superdome and the New Orleans convention center.
— Rescuers in helicopters and boats pick up hundreds of stranded people in New Orleans. Reports of looting emerge.
— About 40,000 people are in American Red Cross shelters, not including New Orleans.
— Bush cuts short his vacation to focus on the storm damage.
— 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.
— The looting grows exponentially. Thieves use a forklift to smash into one pharmacy. Blanco asks the White House to send more people. New Orleans police are called off search-and-rescue missions to combat out-of-control looting.
— Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt declares a federal health emergency throughout the Gulf Coast, sends in medical supplies and workers.
— 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.
— Gasoline prices surge above $3 a 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. An additional 25,000 are in the Superdome, where conditions are worsening by the hour.
— An exodus from the Superdome begins, with the first buses leaving for Houston's Astrodome, 350 miles away.
— Pentagon mounts one of largest search-and-rescue operations in U.S. history, sending four Navy ships with emergency supplies.
— Water levels stop rising in New Orleans. Engineers work to close a 500-foot gap in a failed floodwall.
Thursday, Sept. 1:
— 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 center. The first refugee buses arrive at the Houston Astrodome. Elsewhere, 76,000 people are Red Cross shelters.
— Violence escalates. Rescue boats are stolen by marauders, shots are fired at helicopters evacuating hospital patients.
— Doctors at two New Orleans hospitals plead for help, saying food, water and power are almost gone. Helicopters evacuate up to 600 patients but an estimated 1,500 others remain stranded.
— The death toll in Mississippi hits 126.
— Bush asks his father and former President Clinton to lead a fund-raising campaign for hurricane victims.
— Texas agrees to take in 75,000 hurricane evacuees.
— Six hundred massive sand bags arrive to help shore up New Orleans' broken levees.
Friday, Sept 2:
— Bush tours hard-hit Gulf coast areas and acknowledges the failure so far of government hurricane relief efforts. "The results are not acceptable," he says.
— Thousands of National Guardsmen arrive in New Orleans in truck convoys carrying food, water and weapons.
— Congress approves $10.5 billion to cover the immediate rescue and relief efforts.
— The United States and European nations tap oil-and-gasoline stockpiles for 2 million barrels a day, hoping to stem gas shortages.
— Explosions rock a chemical storage plant in New Orleans and other scattered fires break out.
— Fifteen airlines get permission to fly up to 25,000 refugees out of New Orleans to San Antonio.
— Texas opens two more giant centers for victims after the Astrodome fills up. States as far away as Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming and Michigan offer to accept refugees.
— More than 50 nations pledge hurricane assistance.
Saturday, Sept. 3:
— Bush orders more than 7,000 active duty forces to the Gulf Coast.
— More than 25,000 residents have evacuated from New Orleans since Friday, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency says.
— Coast Guard says has it has rescued 9,500 people since Katrina hit.