The Origin of the StormWhile the brunt of the blow is remembered, Katrina actually started off the coast of Africa many days before. The warm waters of Africa actually created this nightmare. Read the full story Hurricanes and African Deserts. Then launch this NOVA interactive on Katrina. Each resource will explain how the hurricane formed.
The Path and PicturesKatrina was a part of an extremely active 2005 hurricane season. While it may have caused the media frenzy, other storms were also very devastating that year. For example, Hurricane Rita was like adding insult to injury in an already damaged Gulf region. A video series explaining the process of hurricane formation using Rita as an example is available. Go to the Hurricane Rita Videos Explained article.
Tracking the path of a storm is important for scientists to analyze the ingredients that feed a tropical cyclone. The first storm to be fully tracked from space was hurricane Isabel in 2003. Watch a flash video on Isabel. Then, check out the 2005 hurricane tracking map. For a complete list of all storms from 1995 through 2006.
NOVA Presentations on KatrinaNOVA is by far one of the best locations for a detailed explanation of the power of Katrina. Although the show is in repeats now, the original is available online. You can go to the The Storm That Drowned a City to download the show. It is actually divided into six easy chapters for faster download times.
How New Orleans FloodedWas it an engineering problem? Was it preventable? Will New Orleans ever fully recover? More and more, questions arise which show a lack of answers. Hurricane Katrina did indeed create media attention, but was it enough to prompt a change? Again, an unanswered question...
For now, let us look at the storm from a strictly scientific angle. One great resource is the NOVA Interactive on pre-Katrina New Orleans and the post-Katrina devastation. (Teachers are encouraged to use the print version of the interactive for students to use if no computers are available.)
While many are asking how to prevent this problem again, experts are focusing their attention on other major cities prone to flooding around the globe. This slide show on flooding begins with an examination of the Netherlands. The efforts of scientists to control the flooding in the Netherlands parallels New Orleans since half the country lies below sea level. (Or go to the print version.)
Why Didn't Anyone Listen?One man, Ivor van Heerden warned of the coming storm. NOVA interviewed van Heeren prior to Katrina and after her passing. You can find the interviews on the PBS site The Man Who Knew.