Hurricane Katrina- August 25th, 2005
The worst natural disaster to ever hit the United States began as Tropical Depression Twelve over the southeastern Bahamas on August 23rd, 2005. The next morning, August 24th, the storm was upgraded to tropical storm status and given a name----Katrina.
On August 25th, Hurricane Katrina, a small hurricane for only two hours, entered Florida near Hallandale Beach. The storm swept across Florida causing minimal damage and entered the Gulf of Mexico a tropical storm once again.
One hour after entering the Gulf, Katrina began to pick up steam, reaching a category three, with sustained winds of 115mph. The storm actually slowed down when hit with an "Eyewall Replacement Cycle". However, the storm doubled in size and later began to pick up strength, reaching Category 5 status on August 28th, with sustained winds of 175mph.
Katrina slammed into the Southeast Louisiana town of Buras on Monday morning, August 29th. Winds were a sustained 125mph and extended 120 miles from the eye. At the time of landfall, it was the fourth most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever recorded. After coasting through SE Louisiana, Katrina zeroed in on the Louisiana-Mississippi border as a Category Three storm with 120mph winds. In New Orleans, the levees broke, flooding 80% of the city and plunging the city into chaos.
In Mississippi, Katrina created a 27 foot storm surge that went 6 miles inland, destroying the infrastructure of the state's lower 47 counties. 1,836 people died, 700 were unaccounted for, and millions were left without power.
Florida Task Force 5 Responds
Jacksonville Firefighters sprung into action before Katrina made landfall. The JFRD Urban Search and Rescue team was mobilized and rode out to the Florida Panhandle to ride out the storm. Withing hours of Katrina making landfall, Jacksonville Firefighters were on the ground in Pascagoula Mississippi, doing whatever they could to help.
View the FLTF-5 Photo Gallery (Coming soon)
The Citizens of Jacksonville Respond
Jacksonville’s Firefighters arrived in the Pascagoula area of Mississippi Tuesday morning August 30th with the task of assisting the needy. They came with enough food to feed themselves for 5-7 days. Upon arrival, they were swarmed by people looking for food and water. As part of their nature, the firefighters gave their food and water to people who needed it more than they did.
Later that day, the firefighters in Mississippi called in to report that they were now in desperate need of food and water. The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department sprung into action, announcing to the citizens of Jacksonville that a 12 hour emergency supply drive would start at 8am the following day. All of Jacksonville’s 56 fire stations were announced as drop off sites.
Starting at 8am on Wednesday, August 31st, the citizens of Jacksonville responded. Within 12 hours, over 40 tons of bottled water, Gatorade, bug spray, diapers, and other non perishable items were delivered to Jacksonville fire stations. By late Wednesday evening, five tractor trailers were on their way to support Jacksonville’s firefighters in Mississippi. That only ended up being a fraction of the amount as over the next several days, Jacksonville citizens donated enough supplies to send 27 tractor trailers of much needed supplies to the hurricane stricken area.
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Local 122 Responds
In addition to the urban search and rescue response provided by the Jacksonville Fire Fighters in Florida Task Force 5, members of the Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters Local 122 responded to Baton Rouge to form a command center to assist fire fighters. From Baton Rouge, Jacksonville Fire Fighters teamed up with fire fighters from all over the nation to relieve firefighters on the front lines, help them find their familes, and get them the necessary supplies and resources to rebuild their lives.
View the New Orleans Photo Gallery