The virtual destruction of New Orleans is widely reported as a possible outcome of Category 5 Hurricane Katrina, set to hit the Louisiana coastline at 6am CT Monday morning. The approaching storm drove oil prices over $70 a barrel last night, and is expected to drive gasoline at the pump 20 to 30 cents higher. Photo courtesy of NOAA.
Joe Shea/The American Reporter
This arena in Arcadia, Fla., was the rural city's main disaster shelter during Hurricane Charley in 2004, but high winds ripped its roof off at the height of the storm. Many wonder about the security of the Superdome amid the construction-related corruption that has been endemic to the city. More than 8,000 people are sheltering there.
Joe Shea/The American Reporter
UPDATE, 8/31/05, 9:20AM est: IT SEEMS TO THE WORST FEARS OF NEW ORLEANS RESIDENTS HAVE BEEN REALIZED. HERE IS A REPORT RELEASED THIS MORNING BY NBC, MSNBC AND OTHER NEWS AGENCIES:
NBC, MSNBC and news services
Updated: 9:01 a.m. ET Aug. 31, 2005
NEW ORLEANS - Hellish scenes of death, damage and chaos wracked the U.S. Gulf Coast on Wednesday as overwhelmed authorities tried to rescue the living, protect those in shelters, and count the dead following Hurricane Katrina.
New Orleans was filling with water after an initial attempt to stop a leaking levee failed, while police fought to stop widespread looting in the stricken city.
Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said everyone still in the city, now huddled in the Superdome and other rescue centers, needs to leave. She said she wanted the Superdome evacuated within two days.
“We need to evacuate the people in the Superdome and other shelters and in the hospitals,” she told NBC’s “Today” show on Wednesday. “Those are our basic missions today.”
Trying to fix the levees, she added, has been “an engineering nightmare,” with sandbags dropped from the air simply falling “into the eternal black hole.”
“This is a nightmare,” she added, “but one that will give us an opportunity for rebirth.”
Here is the 8am 8/29 EDT Avisory from NOAA's National Hurricane Center:
WTNT32 KNHC 291254
HURRICANE KATRINA INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 26B
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
8 AM CDT MON AUG 29 2005
...LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE KATRINA POUNDING SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA AND SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI...
A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR THE NORTH CENTRAL GULF COAST FROM MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA EASTWARD TO THE ALABAMA/FLORIDA BORDER ...INCLUDING THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS AND LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN.
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING AND A HURRICANE WATCH ARE IN EFFECT FROM EAST OF THE ALABAMA/FLORIDA BORDER TO DESTIN FLORIDA ...AND FROM WEST OF MORGAN CITY TO INTRACOASTAL CITY LOUISIANA.
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS ALSO IN EFFECT FROM DESTIN FLORIDA EASTWARD TO INDIAN PASS FLORIDA... AND FROM INTRACOASTAL CITY LOUISIANA WESTWARD TO CAMERON LOUISIANA.
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA... INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.
AT 8 AM CDT...1300Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE KATRINA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 29.7 NORTH... LONGITUDE 89.6 WEST OR ABOUT 40 MILES SOUTHEAST OF NEW ORLEANS LOUISIANA AND ABOUT 65 MILES SOUTHWEST OF BILOXI MISSISSIPPI.
KATRINA IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH NEAR 15 MPH... AND A GRADUAL TURN TO THE NORTH-NORTHEAST AT A SLIGHTLY FASTER FORWARD SPEED IS EXPECTED OVER THE NEXT 24 HOURS. ON THIS TRACK... THE CENTER WILL BE PASSING JUST TO THE EAST OF NEW ORLEANS DURING THE NEXT FEW HOURS WITH THE WORST OF THE WEATHER FOR THAT CITY OCCURRING OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF HOURS. THE CENTER IS EXPECTED TO MOVE INTO SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI LATER TODAY.
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 135 MPH...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. KATRINA IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. WEAKENING IS FORECAST AS THE CIRCULATION INTERACTS WITH LAND TODAY. WINDS AFFECTING THE UPPER FLOORS OF HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS WILL BE SIGNIFICANTLY STRONGER THAN THOSE NEAR GROUND LEVEL.
KATRINA IS A VERY LARGE HURRICANE. HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 125 MILES FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 230 MILES. PASCAGOULA MISSISSIPPI CIVIL DEFENSE REPORTED A WIND GUST TO 118 MPH... AND GULFPORT MISSISSIPPI EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER REPORTED SUSTAINED WINDS OF 94 MPH WITH A GUST TO 100 MPH. BELLE CHASSE LOUISIANA... JUST SOUTHEAST OF NEW ORLEANS... RECENTLY REPORTED SUSTAINED WINDS OF 76 MPH WITH A GUST TO 88 MPH. A LITTLE EARLIER... BELLE CHASE REPORTED A GUST TO 105 MPH. NEW ORLEANS LAKEFRONT AIRPORT RECENTLY REPORTED SUSTAINED WINDS OF 69 MPH WITH A GUST TO 86 MPH.
THE MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE RECENTLY REPORTED BY AN AIR FORCE RESERVE UNIT RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT WAS 923 MB... 27.26 INCHES.
COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 18 TO 22 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS... ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES... CAN BE EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE EAST OF THE CENTER. STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 10 TO 15 FEET... NEAR THE TOPS OF THE LEVEES... IS POSSIBLE IN THE GREATER NEW ORLEANS AREA. SIGNIFICANT STORM SURGE FLOODING WILL OCCUR ELSEWHERE ALONG THE CENTRAL AND NORTHEASTERN GULF OF MEXICO COAST.
RAINFALL TOTALS OF 5 TO 10 INCHES...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 15 INCHES...ARE POSSIBLE ALONG THE PATH OF KATRINA ACROSS THE GULF COAST AND THE TENNESSEE VALLEY. RAINFALL TOTALS OF 4 TO 8 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS THE OHIO VALLEY INTO THE EASTERN GREAT LAKES REGION TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY.
THE TORNADO THREAT AHEAD OF KATRINA CONTINUES TO INCREASE AND SCATTERED TORNADOES WILL BE POSSIBLE TODAY OVER SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA... SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI ... SOUTHERN ALABAMA... AND OVER THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE.
REPEATING THE 8 AM CDT POSITION...29.7 N... 89.6 W. MOVEMENT TOWARD... NORTH NEAR 15 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...135 MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 923 MB.
THE NEXT ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AT 10 AM CDT.