Katrina's Growth Echoed 1935's "Storm of Century"
Katrina's rapid intensification from 80 mph winds to 175 mph was similar to the Labor Day hurricane of 1935, which exploded from a tropical storm with winds of about 40 miles an hour (65 kilometers an hour) to a killer hurricane in about 30 hours. The storm's eye struck Long Key, Florida with winds of perhaps 200 miles an hour (320 kilometers an hour) and a storm surge that completely submerged parts of the island chain.
More than 400 people were killed, including about 260 World War I veterans who were working on a highway construction project. The veterans were being housed in flimsy beachfront work camps on the low-lying islands.
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