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

Thousands of people along the coast of the Gulf of Mexicofrom Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle were urged toevacuate as Hurricane Katrina gathered strength and aimedfor the US gulf coast. The hurricane is expected to makelandfall by Monday as a Category 4 storm, with sustainedwinds of 140 MPH. Meanwhile, extremely hot and humid airacross southern Texas and Louisiana, with temperaturesupwards of 105 F. could feed the storm as it approachesland, causing a rare condition where it gains suddenstrength as it makes landfall.

The hurricane is being called “extremely dangerous” by theNational Weather Service, and people in low-lying areas arebeing urged to seek higher ground within 36 hours, afterwhich it will be “too late.”
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