Ten years ago, when Hurricane Katrina reached its peak intensity in the Gulf of Mexico, its maximum sustained winds reached an astonishing 175 mph. Views of the Category 5 storm from space were downright frightening.

It was difficult to come to grips with the fact that this storm could strike a highly populated U.S. city. And then, the sum of all fears was realized.

Ten years after the catastrophe, here are 10 images of the beastly storm as it bore down on New Orleans:

1. Animated infrared satellite gif of Katrina making landfall, August 28-29

2. Animated radar gif of Katrina making landfall, August 29

3. Still color infrared image of Katrina near peak intensity in the Gulf, August 28

4. High resolution still image of Katrina near peak intensity in the Gulf, August 28

5. Wide view of Katrina near peak intensity in the Gulf, August 28

6. Hurricane hunter (P3) fuselage radar view of Katrina as plane flew through eye, August 28

7. Three dimensional structure of Katrina visualized by NASA, August 28

8. Water vapor image of Katrina making landfall, August 29

9. NASA simulation of Katrina

(Left simulation visualizes surface wind speeds, the right simulation portrays water vapor. More info.)

10. Visualization of Katrina used in “Dynamic Earth” film

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More Katrina from The Washington Post