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August 28, 2005

Thinking of friends in New Orleans - Updated

Topics: Natural Disasters

HUIR.jpgOur prayers are with you . . .

At 11 a.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center said Katrina's maximum sustained wind speed had stepped up to nearly 175 mph, with higher gusts. The hurricane's eye was about 225 miles south-southeast of the mouth of Mississippi River.

Mayor Ray Nagin ordered an immediate evacuation Sunday for all of New Orleans, a city sitting below sea level with 485,000 inhabitants, as Hurricane Katrina bore down with wind revved up to nearly 175 mph and a threat of a massive storm surge.

This is a once in a lifetime event," the mayor said. "The city of New Orleans has never seen a hurricane of this magnitude hit it directly."

We are facing a storm that most of us have long feared," Nagin said.

Donald Sensing explains:

According to a Corps of Engineer study done a few years ago, a Cat 5 hurricane would devestate New Orleans on a scale of near-biblical proportions. The French Quarter would be flooded 20 feet deep or more.

Update: here's more:

"The conditions have to be absolutely perfect to have a hurricane become this strong," National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield, noting that Katrina may yet be more powerful than the last Category 5 storm, 1992's Hurricane Andrew, which at 165 mph leveled parts of South Florida, killed 43 people and caused $31 billion in damage.

"It's capable of causing catastrophic damage," Mayfield said. "Even well-built structures will have tremendous damage. Of course, what we're really worried about is the loss of lives.

"New Orleans may never be the same."

Posted by tim at August 28, 2005 11:47 AM

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