Hurricane Katrina NewsWire 8/30/05

File Under: Hurricane Katrina

It’s Tuesday afternoon, and we are beginning to get a clearer idea of the devestation that Katrina left in it’s wake. Here’s a wrap-up of the latest developments:

New Orleans

– The levee system broke, allowing Lake Pontchartrain to flood most of the city.
– In New Orleans, there are reports of bodies floating in the floodwaters.
– 80% of New Orleans is under water. Some sections of the city have water as deep as 20 feet. Both airports are under water. The French Quarter, which saw no flooding as a direct result of Katrina, is now starting to get standing water. Now officials fear that the bowl-shaped city may slowly fill up.

– A downtown hospital is surrounded by 6 feet of water. “The water is rising so fast,” one hospital official said. “I cannot begin to describe how quickly it’s rising. We have whitecaps on Canal Street, the water is moving so fast.” They are now considering evacuating its 1,000 patients. Some patients in the city have been moved to the Superdome.
– Most of the water pumps are not functioning at all in New Orleans, meaning the water goes in, but does not get pumped back out.
– Water was knee-deep around the Superdome. Canal Street is quite literally a canal.
– The mayoor has issued an emergancy evacuation order, telling everyone who didn’t get out before Katrina hit, that they have to get out now. There is no power, no phone service, no water, no food, no sanitary services… City officials fear that the city will not be inhabitable for months to come.

– Helicopters will be used to drop 3,000-lbs. sandbags right by the levee’s breach, and hoping that they can plug the hole.
– “We have no counts whatsoever,” said Lousiana’s governor. “But we know many lives have been lost.”
– In the streets of downtown, there is anywhere between 1 to 12 feet of standing water.
– Bridges connecting mainland Louisiana and New Orleans were washed away. Parts of Interstate 10 are underwater.

Mississippi

– Biloxi, Mississippi may be the hardest hit area of the storm. A projected 30-foot storm surge came ashore, and officials now fear that hundreds may be dead. Most of the deaths are thought to have been caused by the storm surge, which swept almost a mile inland in parts of Mississippi. Some in Mississippi are calling it akin to a Tsunami.
– Projected cost are still at $26 billion, which would make it the costliest natural disaster ever to hit American soil.
– Television sets are flooded with images of people being rescued by the Coast Guard from their rooftops.
– “The devastation is greater than our worst fears,” Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco told a news conference. “It’s totally overwhelming.”

– 35 people swam out of an emergancy operations center, after flood waters got a bit too high at the Hancock Couny courthouse.
– Mississippi’s Gov. Haley Barbour said that there were unconfirmed reports of up to 80 deaths in Harrison County, which includes Gulfport and Biloxi. And the number was likely to rise.
– Trees and chunks of broken concrete litter the streets. Crews are working to clear highways, but some motorist are using their own chainsaws to help clear trees from the roads.

– Over 300 people were on rooftops, waiting for assistance last night. 100 people in Mississippi were airlifted to safety, with 200 in the New Orleans area being hoisted up.
“Houses that withstood Camille are nothing but slab now,” said one Biloxi resident. Hurricane Camille killed 256 people in Louisiana and Mississippi in 1969.

The Rest of Katrina


– The Red Cross told reporters that the Katrina relief effort would be bigger than 9/11.
– 7,500 National Guard troops are being called out to help police in the areas, and to help remove debris, and to generally help distribute aid. Covoys of Humvees and military trucks are heading south through Alabama to help conduct search and rescue operations.
– 2 oil drilling rigs were knocked adrift and one in Mobile Bay broke free of its mooring and slammed into a bridge. Oil prices peaked at $70.85 a barrel today.

– Tornadoes have spun off in Georgia, and Tennessee has been drenched as remnants of Katrina races across the nation. Kentucky is also getting a soaking.
– In western Kentucky, a 1o-year old girl was sucked into a drainage pipe and killed after a neighborhood was flooded, and peaceful rivers became torrents.
– 5 million are without power in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
– President Bush will be returning to the White House on Wednesday, not Friday, to help monitor the Hurricane relief efforts.
– As of Monday night, more than 37,000 people were in American Red Cross shelters across the Gulf Coast.
– Government officials are urging people who evacuated the area NOT to try to return home, saying that it would only interfere with the intense rescue and recovery operations going on. Plus… lots may not have a place to return to.

The fallout of Hurricane Katrina continues, and the fate of New Orleans hangs in the balance. Stay tuned for more news, information, and pictures, and keep your eyes open for a list of places where you can donate, to help people out in this disastear. This is not just another hurricane. It’s another Andrew, only inflicting terrible, terrible damage all over state lines. Officials fear it may turn out to be worse tha Camille. And the Red Cross already is saying for them, it will be bigger than 9/11.

The fallout from Katrina will continue here at TDI for the weeks and months to come.

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