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Katrina Downgraded to Cat. 3

Hurricane Katrina began to lose power dramatically as it moved towardNew Orleans, and has been downgraded by the National WeatherService to a Category 3 hurricane, with maximum sustainedwinds of 135 MPH. This is still a dangerous storm, and thereremains a possibility that New Orleans' levee system will bebreached, but this is getting less likely by the hour. Atpresent, it appears that the city will sustain damage fromwind and rain, but if the levees hold, it will not bedestroyed.

New Orleans was placed under mandatoryevacuation orders yesterday, and a million people have leftthe area. Those unable to leave are crowded into theLouisiana Superdome, which, at 18 feet elevation, is on someof thehighest ground in the city, and has been constructed towithstand 200 MPH winds.

This extremely dangerous storm is expected to bring heavyrain and high winds across a large area, and residentsinland are being warned to prepare for high winds and flooding.

To keep up with the National Weather Service's hurricanealerts on Katrina,clickhere.

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