Gulf Opportunity Zone

What is a Gulf Opportunity Zone

The Gulf Opportunity Zone is the area that was largely impacted by the storms surrounding Hurricane Katrina in 2005. This includes areas in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. 

BREAKING DOWN Gulf Opportunity Zone

The Gulf Opportunity Zone is an area that is eligible for credits, deductions and incentives provided by the declaring of a disaster area in the locations that were hit hardest by the catastrophic 2005 hurricane season. The properties in this zone must meet certain qualifications to receive these deductions and credits. Some business types, such as massage parlors and liquor stores, and property types, such as golf courses, may be excluded from any credits. Also, any property that can be removed from the area will not qualify. Certain services, such as anything related to remediation from the storm damages, may also qualify.

The purpose of the deduction was to stimulate the economy that stagnated after the disaster. When Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast at the end of August in 2005, many residential and commercial areas were hit hard. Due to the failing of levees in New Orleans, a large portion of the city was submerged under flood waters. A massive loss of life and property occurred during the storm, and the name Katrina was retired from the named hurricane list.

What is a Hurricane

Hurricanes are tropical cyclones that develop out at sea. Once a tropical cyclone’s sustained winds reach a certain speed they are upgraded to tropical depressions. If the wind speeds increase further, they become tropical depressions. Once a tropical depression reaches a sustained wind speed of 74 miles per hour, it becomes a hurricane. The World Meteorological Organization keeps a rotating list of names, and once a tropical cyclone reaches hurricane strength, it gets named. These named hurricanes can occur all over the world, but they most commonly develop in the Atlantic Ocean and impact the gulf coast or southern United States. While it is unusual for a hurricane to reach up into the northern states, it is not unheard of. In recent years, many named storms have made landfall in the northeastern United States, including the record-breaking Super Storm Sandy in 2012.

Each hurricane is ranked on a scale from one to five, with one being the mildest and five being the most severe. These rankings have more to do with wind speeds and less to do with damage, as some low-level storms have inflicted just as much destruction and fiscal loss as their higher category counterparts.

In 2017, the United States saw many named storms that resulted in catastrophic loss of life and property. Hurricanes Maria and Harvey were especially damaging, and some of the death tolls were still being adjusted almost a year after they occurred as new information became available. 

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  1. United States Congress. "H.R.4440 - Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005." Accessed Nov. 15, 2020.

  2. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "Gulf Coast Opportunity Zone Map." Accessed Nov. 15, 2020.

  3. United States Congress. "H.R.4440 - Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005," Sec. 101. Accessed Nov. 15, 2020.

  4. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "Tropical Cyclone Naming History and Retired Names." Accessed Nov. 15, 2020.

  5. U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. "Hurricane Katrina: A Nation Still Unprepared," Page 37. Accessed Nov. 15, 2020.

  6. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "What Is a Hurricane?" Accessed Nov. 15, 2020.

  7. World Meteorological Organization."Tropical Cyclone Naming." Accessed Nov. 15, 2020.

  8. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "The Making of a Super Storm." Accessed Nov. 15, 2020.

  9. National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center. "Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale." Accessed Nov. 15, 2020.

  10. National Centers for Environmental Information. "Hurricanes and Tropical Storms - Annual 2017." Accessed Nov. 15, 2020.

  11. Milken Institute School of Public Health. "Ascertainment of the Estimated Excess Mortality from Hurricane María in Puerto Rico," Pages ii-iii. Accessed Nov. 15, 2020.