The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration said, however, Katrina will not likely exceed the death toll for some other notorious storms.
"Although Katrina will be recorded as the most destructive storm in terms of economic losses," said NOAA in a report Thursday, "it will likely not exceed the human losses in storms such as the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, which killed as many as 6,000-12,000 people, and led to almost complete destruction of coastal Galveston."
By most estimates, the death toll in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi from Hurricane Katrina stood at just under 800 by late Thursday.
NOAA said insurance company estimates of property loss from Hurricane Katrina had reached approximately $60 billion in insured losses Thursday, and the storm could cost Gulf Coast states as much as $120 billion more. Hurricane Andrew in 1992 cost approximately $21 billion in insured losses in 2005 dollars, said NOAA.
Forecasters said the June-August summer season was the tenth warmest on record for the contiguous United States, and precipitation was above average. Global temperatures from June1 through Aug. 31 were the second highest on record.