Document Type



The loads associated with Hurricane Katrina led to the destruction or severe damage of approximately 130,000 homes and over 200 deaths in the state of Mississippi. This paper discusses the results of a field inspection of structural damage along the state’s Gulf Coast area caused by this hurricane. It was found that reinforced concrete, steel frame, and heavy timber structures generally performed well, with minimal structural damage. Precast concrete, light frame wood, and bridge structures generally performed poorly. Non-structural components of all building types, in particular facades and interior partitions subjected to storm surge, were typically destroyed. For various structures, the primary cause of failure was found to be insufficient connection strength. A comparison of Katrina’s storm surge and wind loads is made to those specified in current design standards. It was found that Katrina’s forces exceeded those specified in design standards in many parts of the state.


Applied Mechanics | Structural Engineering


NOTICE IN COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLISHER POLICY: This is the final draft of an article published in Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, 21(2), (2007) © ASCE, available online at: