From Katrina to Wilma: 10 Photos That Capture the Devastation of the 2005 Hurricane Season

In the most destructive hurricane season in recorded history, images from Katrina, Rita, Wilma and others still resonate today and immediately recall the total despair millions of Americans faced in 2005.

The 2005 season brought three of the six most powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded with a staggering 27 named storms.

"By far, 2005 was collectively the most damaging season on record for the United States and the Atlantic basin as a whole," AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said.

"The unique conditions of that season allowed several storms to become major hurricanes and develop quickly," he said. "We haven't seen anything like that since, and probably won't again in this lifetime."


One of the worst natural disasters to strike American soil, Hurricane Katrina carved a path of damage from Alabama into Louisiana. Initially hitting Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, as a Category 3 hurricane, the system made its way to New Orleans, flooding the city.

Katrina was responsible more than 1,800 deaths and resulted in $108 billion of damage.

The fierce wind blew out windows on the north side of the Hyatt Regency in downtown New Orleans and many other high-rise buildings in the city's core. The city was without power before the storm made direct landfall.

Even with mandatory evacuations in place, some New Orleans residents chose to stay at their homes. Others were not capable of evacuating. Rescue teams flew across New Orleans neighborhoods, scouring rooftops for residents who attempted to escape rising floodwater.

For those that stayed in the city, temporary refuge sites were created by local officials, including the Louisiana Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints. More than 25,000 took shelter at the stadium, which sustained significant damage during the storm.

Katrina pounded Mississippi with destructive winds, drenching rain and overwhelming storm surge. All 82 counties were declared disaster areas. A CBS report declared that 90 percent of structures within a half-mile inland along the state's coastline were completely destroyed. Waves towered as high as 20 feet in Waveland, Mississippi, according to the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center.


Rita made landfall in southwestern Louisiana on Sept. 24, 2005, as the second major hurricane to strike the Louisiana coast in the 2005 season. Rita produced 5 to 9 inches of rain in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, with isolated amounts as high as 15 inches in some areas.

More than 2 million people were forced to evacuate during the storm. Falling just three weeks after Hurricane Katrina, preparations were in full force and the storm's approach prompted one of the largest evacuations in U.S. history. Widespread damage across Louisiana, Texas, Florida and Mississippi resulted in $12 billion worth of damage.


In late October 2005, Hurricane Wilma lashed the Yucatan Peninsula and nearby regions with strong winds and drenching rain. In some areas, Wilma delivered more than 5 feet of rain. Twenty-two people died as a direct result of the storm, including 12 in Haiti and five in Florida.

The hurricane caused an estimated $21 billion in damage with widespread agricultural and property damage to the United States. In the grips of the storm, up to 98 percent of customers in South Florida lost electricity.