It’s coming…

File Under: News

If Katrina keeps her strength intact when it makes landfall, it may very well be the story of the year – a category 5 Hurricane slamming New Orleans, a bowl-shaped city that sits below sea level. Louisiana and Mississippi have declared states of emergancy, as thousands of lives are at risk. New Orleans could be buried under at least 15 feet of water, with a potential to get up to 25 feet of standing water.

There are 10 shelters set up all throughout New Orleans, the Superdome being one of them. They call these shelters the “last resort”, for those who couldn’t fly or drive out of the storm. The southern coastline is no stranger to Katrina, who hit parts of Florida on Thursday as a category 1 storm. 9 people died in Florida. Thousands of lives are at risk in Lousiana. And it looks like this storm will not be hitting as anything less than a Category 4.

As of this blog posting, Katrina is packing 160 mph winds. Thousands of people are lined up outside of shelters, waiting to be processed. The storm surge could get up to 28 feet. Levees could be toppled. “Ladies and gentlemen, I wish I had better news for you,” New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said today in a public speech. “But we are facing a storm that most of us have feared. This is a threat that we’ve never faced before”

The last category 5 storm to strike the area was Hurricane Camille in 1969. New Orleans just missed it, but Camille devestated parts of Mississippi, Louisiani, and Alabama, killing more than 250 people. Hurricane Andrew, which destroyed Homestead, Florida in 1992, ranks as the costliest natural disastear in US history. That storm, which packed 165 mph winds, was also a category 5.

Mandatory evacuations took place earlier today, for those who were able to leave. The storm is expected to start around 4 am, with the eye making landfall around 7. New Orleans is home to 485,000. And with high winds, intense flooding, and widespead structural damage expected, city officials are looking at a sharp increase of people without homes, as a result of this flood.

Hurricane Katrina, to make landfall early Monday morning. While we all hope and pray for the best, this could be “the storm to end all storms”. Already, with it being the second time to hit landfall, it stands to topple Andrew as the costliest hurricane of all time. Through the upcoming weeks, the Delta Institute will try to bring you the latest from the hardest hit areas, wherever they are.

The story of the year begins early Monday morning.


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