How Long After Katrina Did The Levees Break (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 1 Day

With the evolution of men, a lot of new things were discovered. But the path was not so smooth. Due to the steady pace of evolution, a lot of negativity has taken place. The most common thing is pollution. Pollution can be of different types including air, water, land, and sound pollution. The old people used to worship nature as a god and believed that it will punish those who caused harm to society.

Just like the saying, there has been a lot of cases where devastating natural phenomenon have taken places which in turn took a lot of lives. Out of them, the most devastating was hurricane Katrina that happened in August 2005, in America. Within a day of its arrival, it broke off the levee, which was still under construction.

How Long After Katrina Did The Levees Break

How Long After Katrina Did The Levees Break?

Levees (Break)1 Day
Flood Walls (Break)1 Day

It is believed to be 1 day after hurricane Katrina, that the levee broke. But witnesses have confirmed that it was actually at the moment that Katrina hit, the levee was starting to break little by little. The American government tried its best to prevent such a situation but failed utterly in its duties. The hurricane hit New Orleans, Louisiana on 29 August 2005 and left no stones unturned with its devastating powers.

The hurricane ran at 280 kilometers per hour speed. It was recognized as one of the top ten hurricane storms to ever occur in America. Due to tropical depressions, Katrina originated almost a week before breaking the levee. Almost 2000 deaths and more than $125 billion worth of property were damaged, making it the costliest hurricane ever.

The construction of levees starting decades before the hurricane. Initially, it was scheduled to be finished within 13 years. But when Hurricane Katrina struck, it was almost after 40 years. Then, the levees were only about two-third ready. due to not having a stronghold, the levees, as well as the floodwalls, were overpowered. Due to the catastrophe, the levees and floodwalls catastrophically broke.

levee broke

With the speed with which the hurricane hit, there was no chance of the halfhearted construction to withstand it. The metro area also collapsed because of this and there was a breach in the Industrial Canal right after hurricane Katrina struck. Almost four-fifths of New Orleans was flooded and there was no way out.

Why Did It Take Long For Katrina To Break The Levees?

The time under which the levees broke due to hurricane Katrina was natural. With almost 280 kilometers per hour speed, it was just a matter of a moment in which any construction could be broken. Many engineers believed that it was almost a miracle that it took a day for the levees to break. Due to its faulty construction, it could have been broken much earlier than when it was broken.

Being termed as “the worst engineering catastrophe in the US”, many investigations were made against the situation. Even ten years after the catastrophe also, the investigations continued. It was later found that due to calculation errors made by its engineers, the construction failed to protect the people. The engineers overestimated the soil strength. So in the design calculations, they increased the strength of the soil that it was in reality.

levee broke

The government took methods to arrange an evacuation for those struck in the city. There were aviation centers that helped in the deed of finding and rescuing people who were on a plane when the storm hit. As mentioned above, an official estimate was given but unofficially it was much worse than it looked like. Due to its heavy damage, the government had to cover everything from its pocket.

Relief measures were given to the local people. Due to such heavy losses, it was also taking a toll on the economic condition of the government. The environment also took some damage from it. The beach suffered from erosion and in some of the places, the coasts were completely devastated.


Hurricane Katrina did a spectral amount of damage in New Orleans. But there have also been other situations where others places of the USA have suffered from such storms. Even if they suffered, they always came back strong. In 2020, tropical storm Kyle hit the coasts of New Jersey and almost had the same effect. The government had taken everything into account are conducting thorough researches.

They are trying their best to prevent these kinds of situations by properly building the levees and the flood banks. It has been more than a decade since the hurricane, but the breaking of the levees and the devastating situation still haunts the people who were present on that day.


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