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A History Of Big Hurricanes

Hurricane Carla: This hurricane hit on September 10, 1961, striking the Texas coast. About 500,000 people were evacuated from the area. Winds near the center of the hurricane were estimated at 150 miles per hour. The storm caused billions of dollars in damage and 46 people died.

Hurricane Betsy: This hurricane hit on September 8, 1965. It hit Florida first and then turned and hit the Louisiana coast. A total of 75 people lost their lives. The hurricane had winds as high as 160 miles per hour.

Hurricane Camille: This hurricane began on August 17, 1969. It was a Category 5 hurricane -- the most powerful rating, with winds as high as 200 miles per hour. The hurricane hit the U.S. Gulf Coast, but also caused flooding in Virginia. About 250 people died because of the hurricane and the flooding.

Hurricane Celia: This hurricane hit Texas on August 3, 1970. Very high winds damaged an airport and demolished a nearby mobile home park. Fortunately, only 11 people died.

Hurricane Gilbert: This hurricane hit on September 16, 1988. It was a Category 5 hurricane with winds as high as 160 miles per hour. It went through Jamaica, over the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico and came to the U.S. (Texas and Oklahoma) as a heavy rain storm. Damage in Mexico was many billions of dollars, and 318 people died.

Hurricane Andrew: This hurricane hit on August 24, 1992 in southern Florida. It then turned and hit Louisiana. More than a million people had to leave the area due to the storm. Heavy rains and tornadoes were part of the hurricane’s destructive power. Until Katrina, Andrew was the most expensive hurricane in the history of the U.S.

Hurricane Floyd: This hurricane, which struck in September 1999, brought so much rain that 13 states were issued federal disaster declarations -- more declarations for a single event than ever before. More than $500 million of federal money was spent on helping states recover. North Carolina was hit the hardest of any state.

Hurricane Katrina: This August 2005 storm was the most destructive and costly natural disaster in U.S. history. It produced damage estimated at $75 billion in the New Orleans area and along the Mississippi coast. Katrina was responsible for approximately 1,200 reported deaths, including about 1,000 in Louisiana, 200 in Mississippi, and seven in southern Florida.

Hurricane Rita: The third Category 5 hurricane of the 2005 season, this destructive and deadly storm devastated portions of southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana and significantly impacted the Florida Keys. Rita was responsible for seven deaths, and caused damage estimated at $10 billion in the United States.

Hurricane Classification

Information courtesy of The National Hurricane Center

After Katrina, FEMA Helps Families Recover, Communities Rebuild

In the two years since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the Gulf Coast, FEMA has provided billions of dollars in assistance to help people in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama rebuild their lives, their homes and their communities.

FEMA has provided approximately $7.6 billion to over 1.4 million households who suffered damage or, in many cases, lost everything - homes, cars and all their belongings. The money was used to make 185,000 damaged homes habitable again. For homes beyond repair, the money is being used to relocate families and to replace necessary items lost in the disaster. FEMA has also given rental assistance to over 720,000 households. Most families are now out of their trailers and have moved back into their own homes or other permanent housing.

FEMA also has provided more than $8.3 billion in Public Assistance grants to help state and local governments rebuild schools, hospitals, roads, and government buildings and to remove debris left by the storms. Over the past two years, FEMA has funded the removal of over 111 million cubic yards of debris, enough to fill 20 Superdomes.

FEMA’s Gulf Coast Recovery Office is responsible for coordinating efforts to help people recover from these devastating storms.  For more information about what FEMA is doing to help people recover from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, see the Gulf Coast Recovery Office webpage.  

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