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August 29, 2005

Big wind in the Big Easy

From the National Hurricane Center...

AT 4 AM CDT...0900Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE KATRINA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 28.8 NORTH... LONGITUDE 89.6 WEST OR ABOUT 90 MILES SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF NEW ORLEANS LOUISIANA AND ABOUT 120 MILES SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF BILOXI MISSISSIPPI.

KATRINA IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH NEAR 15 MPH... AND THIS MOTION IS FORECAST TO CONTINUE TODAY. A GRADUAL TURN TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHEAST AT A SLIGHTLY FASTER FORWARD SPEED IS EXPECTED LATER TONIGHT AND ON TUESDAY. ON THE FORECAST TRACK...KATRINA WILL MOVE ONSHORE THE SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA COAST JUST EAST OF GRAND ISLE THIS MORNING... AND REACH THE LOUISIANA-MISSISSIPPI BORDER AREA THIS AFTERNOON. CONDITIONS WILL CONTINUE TO STEADILY DETERIORATE OVER CENTRAL AND SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA...SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI...AND SOUTHERN ALABAMA THROUGHOUT THE DAY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 150 MPH...240 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. KATRINA IS A STRONG CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. SOME FLUCTUATIONS IN STRENGTH ARE LIKELY PRIOR TO LANDFALL...BUT KATRINA IS EXPECTED TO MAKE LANDFALL AS A CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE. WINDS AFFECTING THE UPPER FLOORS OF HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS WILL BE SIGNIFICANTLY STRONGER THAN THOSE NEAR GROUND LEVEL.

 From CNN...

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin declared a state of emergency Sunday and ordered a mandatory evacuation of the city.

"This is a threat that we've never faced before," Nagin said. "If we galvanize and gather around each other, I'm sure we will get through this."...

About 1.3 million people live in New Orleans and its suburbs, and many began evacuating before sunrise.

Nagin estimated that nearly 1 million people had fled the city and its surrounding parishes by Sunday night.

Between 20,000 and 25,000 others who remained in the city lined up to take shelter in the Louisiana Superdome, lining up for what authorities warned would be an unpleasant day and a half at minimum.

City officials told stranded tourists to stay on third-floor levels or higher and away from windows.

Posted by Danny Carlton at August 29, 2005 05:21 AM

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