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Storm chaser George Kourounis reflects on the deadliest and costliest storm in U.S. history.

Hurricane Katrina: 10 years after the '100 year storm'

Saturday, August 29, 2015, 8:00 - Ten years ago, the costliest and most destructive hurricane ever to hit the U.S., hurricane Katrina, slammed into the Gulf Coast with ferocious 140 mph winds and blinding sheets of rain -- submerging entire neighborhoods in New Orleans and flooding Mississippi's strip of beachfront casinos and causing widespread damage to offshore oil facilities.

After initially making U.S. landfall on Aug. 25, 2005, in South Florida as a Category 1, it moved into the Gulf of Mexico, rapidly intensified into a Category 5 and made its second landfall early the morning of Aug. 29 in Plaquemines Parish in Southeast Louisiana as a strong Category 3 with sustained winds of 125 mph. 

After briefly moving over water, it made a third landfall later that morning near the Louisiana-Mississippi border. 

Watch Below: Hurricane Katrina as seen from the National Weather Service Key West radar 8 p.m. on August 25th, 2005 through 2 p.m. August 26th.

Katrina weakened as it moved north-northeastward over land but remained a hurricane as far inland as the vicinity of Meridian, Miss., a straight distance of more than 130 miles from the coast. 

An estimated 80 percent of New Orleans was flooded after the levee system failed, killing over at least 1,800 people as water rushed through the city. 

"Hands down the most intense experience of my life," recalls Weather Network meteorologist and storm chaser Mark Robinson, who was in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. "The winds were like nothing I've ever experienced before ...there was debris flying past us, it was just amazing to see." 

Hurricane Katrina opened everybody's eyes to the power of natural disasters. 

Click below to watch: Radar loop of Hurricane Katrina as seen from the NWS New Orleans/Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Doppler radar from August 28 - 29, 2005:

SEE ALSO: High-res satellite captures twin typhoons in the Pacific

The storm produced catastrophic damage -- topping $150 billion ($75 billion worth of damage in the New Orleans area and along the Mississippi coast) -- making it the costliest U.S. hurricane on record. 

This tropical cyclone formed from the combination of a tropical wave, an upper-level trough, and the mid-level remnants of Tropical Depression Ten. 

Katrina brought between 10 and 14 inches of rain to southern Florida, and 8 and 12 inches of rain as it moved inland from the northern Gulf coast. 

Click below to watch: The U.S. National Guard respond to disaster; "Send it now, send it all"

An astonishing 33 tornadoes were reported from the storm.

Bridges, roads and sewers, all had to be rebuilt and federal officials have since invested $10 billion to improve levees across the region. 

Home owners have also invested their time and money to build taller, stronger homes. 

Federal disaster declarations issued in the hurricane’s wake covered not only all of the coastal counties of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, but extended well inland to include cities such as Baton Rouge, La.; Jackson, Miss.; and Tuscaloosa, Ala.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said last week former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will visit the city for the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Associated Press reported. Their visits follow that of President Barack Obama, who is coming Thursday. 

Click below to watch: What are the chances of another Katrina hitting the U.S.? NASA explains:

Sources: NOAA | United States Census Bureau | The Weather Network | NASA | Associated Press | Getty Images

Below is a series of photos capturing the devastation left by Katrina across the U.S. Gulf Coast: 

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