Governor Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana, choking back tears,has announced that the city of New Orleans must beevacuated. In a press conference called half an hour ago,she described the situation as “untenable” and announcedthat everybody in all the rescue centers in the city wouldbe removed, as well as all residents and nonessentialgovernmental personnel.

Two levee breaches Tuesday have caused the city to fill withwater. The storm also burst a major water main, and NewOrleans is without drinkable water. The power is out and itcould be weeks before it is restored. The water filling thecity is full of garbage, the carcasses of drowned animals,and unknown quantities and types of toxic waste.
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Although New Orleans narrowly missed being the first US cityeverdestroyed by a storm this morning when Hurricane Katrinafirst diminished slightly in power, then edged east, thelack of information from areas in the storm’s path is amatter of the most serious concern. At least 50 deaths havealready been reported, and many neighborhoods and towns areout of communication. Last night in a special edition of’s newsletter and on Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell, Whitley Strieber urged prayer that the city be spared. He comments, “I received hundreds of emails from others who were praying. Please keep it up.”
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A river went underground in one Arizona town as a huge fissure opened up in another. The Santa Cruz River rose so high that it covered Interstate highway 19 in places. Cars couldn’t get through. Then three days later, the water disappeared, leaving nothing behind but a few dead fish. The river had vanished.

In what is possibly a related event, a giant crack opened up in the ground nearby. The fissure is about a mile and a half long and as deep as 25 feet in some places. Residents in the area say the fissure has always been there, but with every storm, it keeps getting deeper. It’s close to a residential neighborhood, but so far no homes have fallen into it.

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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 more