Published August 29, 2013
Eight years ago on this day, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Plaquemines Parish, La., as a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph. The hurricane killed more than 1,800 people and left New Orleans under water.
At that time, Katrina was deemed the costliest hurricane in U.S. history and one of the five deadliest hurricanes to ever make landfall in the U.S.
It generated 62 tornadoes, more than 16 inches of rain in some locations and a storm surge as high as 28 feet. After floodwaters breached the Industrial Canal levee, 80 percent of the city was underwater, forcing residents into attics and onto rooftops.
Ultimately, the destruction was deemed significant enough to warrant it retired, meaning no other Atlantic storm would go down in history with the same name.
Over the past 10 years, 22 names have been retired in the Atlantic basin, four of which occurred the same year as Katrina.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), "storm names are retired when the event is deemed so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for obvious reasons of sensitivity."
When that occurs, the World Meteorological Organization removes the name from the recycled list and replaces it with another.
The five most recent storms to make landfall in the U.S. and subsequently be selected for retirement include:
Sandy made landfall on the New Jersey coast on Oct. 29, 2013, taking 147 lives and becoming the deadliest hurricane to hit the United States mainland since Hurricane Katrina. The damages exceeded $50 billion across 24 states, covering 1.8 million square miles after landfall, according to NOAA satellite imagery. Because of the storm's track direction and atypical transition to post-tropical status, it was declared "historically unprecedented" by the NWS.
Irene's destruction came in August of 2011 when it made four separate landfalls, one in Puerto Rico, then in North Carolina, New Jersey and New York. Storm surge reached 4.9 feet in some locations and wind speeds at times reached hurricane force. Overall, however, the NWS deemed Irene's rainfall the most damaging aspect of the storm. More than 22 inches of rain were recorded in some areas. Ultimately, 45 people were killed from Puerto Rico to Maine.
Ike packed a punch to the northwestern Gulf Coast when it made landfall in Texas as a Category 2 hurricane in 2008. In total, storm surge soared to between 10 and 13 feet along the southwestern Louisiana and extreme upper Texas coast. After Ike became post-tropical, it continued to produce strong winds into the Ohio Valley and southeastern Canada. Hurricane-force winds were reported as far as Kentucky and Ohio. In total, Ike took the lives of 103 people across Hispaniola, Cuba and parts of the U.S.
On Oct. 24, 2005, Wilma made landfall along the southwest Florida coast, impacting both the Florida Keys and the southern half of florida. Damages were estimated at $14 billion in the U.S., at the time making it the fifth costliest hurricane in history. Wilma directly caused 11 fatalities in the U.S. with winds as higher than 130 mph at times over land and a storm surge as high as 8 feet in some locations.
Rita made landfall in southwestern Louisiana on Sept. 24, 2005, as the second major hurricane to strike the Louisiana coast in the 2005 season. Though Rita peaked as a Category 5 storm while still in the Gulf, it made landfall as a Category 3 with winds as high as 115 mph. Rita produced 5 to 9 inches of rain in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, with isolated amounts as high as 15 inches in some areas. The storm spawned an estimated 90 tornadoes and resulted in the evacuation of more than 2 million people.