Katrina reaches hurricane status
Hurricane Katrina strikes Florida between Hallandale Beach and North Miami Beach as a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds.
At 7:00 AM EDT (1100 UTC), the FEMA National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) Red Team was activated. By 5:00 PM EDT (2100 UTC), Tropical Storm Katrina is upgraded to Hurricane Katrina, the fourth hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season
Hurricane Katrina had just become a category 1 hurricane on August 25, 2005, at 12:30 p.m., Eastern Daylight Savings Time.
The hurricane formed as a tropical depression late on August 23 and developed quickly into a tropical storm by 11 a.m. the morning of August 24. The storm had developed into a category 1 hurricane, the lowest category in the hurricane-strength scale. Katrina had winds of 120 kilometers per hour (75 miles per hour).
Storm-wary Florida braced for the imminent landfall of Hurricane Katrina, which also caused jitters on oil markets where concern over Gulf of Mexico platforms helped send crude prices to record highs.
First gusts of winds already sent roof shingles and tree limbs flying in Miami and nearby Fort Lauderdale a few hours before the storm's anticipated landfall.
Katrina, which became a full-blown hurricane Thursday afternoon, was expected to hit Florida in the course of the night, before heading across the state toward the Gulf of Mexico.
But forecasts late Thursday showed the hurricane should remain to the east of the main offshore oil fields, and would likely make a second landfall in northwestern Florida Sunday or Monday.
Authorities in southeastern Florida opened emergency shelters and urged residents of mobile homes and barrier islands to evacuate to safer ground,
Most schools and offices in the threatened area were closed down on Thursday.
"It's important to take this seriously," said Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a brother of the US president.
Florida residents stocked up on basic supplies in what has become a well-rehearsed routine after four deadly hurricanes hit the southeastern US state last year, along with another last month.
pm (2100 GMT) Thursday, Katrina's center was located 24
kilometers (15 miles) east-northeast of Fort Lauderdale and
was moving west at nine kilometers per hour (six miles per hour).
The hurricane packed maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers (75 miles) per hour with higher gusts.
While Katrina ranked at the bottom of the five-level Saffir-Simpson hurricane intensity scale, forecasters warned residents not to underestimate the threat it presented, and particularly the risks of floods. Due to its slow forward speed, Katrina is expected to produce a significant heavy rainfall event over Florida.
Officials also warned the hurricane could spawn tornadoes.
essence, this is a very dangerous storm,"
Before it became a hurricane, Katrina hit the Bahamas islands - a popular tourist destination - knocking out power in some areas and prompting authorities to shut down airports.
In south Florida, authorities closed ports and cruise terminals, while Fort Lauderdale airport was set to shut down Thursday evening.
Several beachfront hotels also boarded up their doors, but with large waves rolling in, surfers ignored official warnings to stay out of the water.
At 6:30 PM EDT (2230 UTC), Katrina made its first landfall in Florida as a Category 1 hurricane near Hallandale Beach, Florida on the Miami-Dade/Broward county line.
Hurricane Katrina slammed into Florida's densely populated southeastern coast Thursday - August 25, 2005 with sustained winds of 80 mph and lashing rain.
The storm strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane just before it made landfall along the Miami-Dade and Broward county line between Hallandale Beach and North Miami Beach. Flooding was the main concern as the storm dropped a foot of rain or more in some spots.
There were no immediate reports of major damage or flooding as the storm passed through the area. An estimated 5.9 million Florida residents were in Katrina's projected path.
After landfall, instead of travelling west as originally forecasted, Katrina jogged hard left (south) almost parallel to the coastline in densely-populated metropolitan Miami, Florida.
Rain fell in horizontal sheets and blew gusts of up to 92 mph, toppling trees and street signs. Seas were estimated at 15 feet, and blowing sand covered waterfront streets. It was reported that more than 412,000 people were without electricity.
The storm proved fatal for two people who ignored warnings from officials to stay inside until the worst was over. A man in his 20s in Fort Lauderdale was crushed by a falling tree as he sat alone in his car, while a pedestrian was killed by a falling tree in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Plantation.
"The message needs to be very clear. It's not a good night to be out driving around," National Hurricane Center director May Mayfield. "The back side of the core of the hurricane has yet to come. It's not over yet."
The usually bustling streets of Miami Beach, a tourist haven, were largely deserted as the storm pounded the area. The city was hosting celebrities and partygoers in town for the MTV Video Music Awards. MTV called off its pre-awards festivities Thursday and Friday.
Tourists and others hoping to get out of town before the storm were stranded as airlines canceled flights at Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports, which both closed Thursday night.
Before the hurricane struck, Floridians wary of Katrina prepared by putting up shutters, stacking sandbags in doorways and stocking up on supplies.
Water management officials lowered canal levels to avoid possible flooding, and pumps were activated in several low-lying areas of Miami-Dade.
Dozens of surfers and spectators lined beaches from Palm Beach to Miami-Dade counties to take advantage of the massive waves on the normally placid seas, and long lines didn't seem to be a problem at most area gas stations, supermarkets and hardware stores.
Katrina was the second hurricane to hit the state this year - Dennis hit the Panhandle last month - and the sixth since Aug. 13, 2004. Katrina formed Wednesday over the Bahamas and was expected to cross Florida before heading into the Gulf of Mexico.
After crossing the peninsula, the storm could turn to the north over the Gulf of Mexico and threaten the Panhandle early next week, forecasters said. Bush encouraged residents of Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend areas to monitor the storm.
Katrina continued its path through Coral Gables and southwest Miami, then travelled southwest through the unpopulated Everglades National Park and exited the state near the southern tip of mainland Florida.
Katrina is the 11th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season,
which began June 1. That's seven more than have typically formed by
now in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
At 7 p.m. Lumbering ashore in south Florida, Katrina with punishing winds and torrential rain in densely populated southeast Florida, leaving nine people dead and more than 1 million without electricity.
11 p.m.: Despite being over land for more than four hours, Katrina's maximum sustained winds are still being clocked at 75 mph. It came ashore with 80 mph winds between Hallandale Beach and North Miami Beach
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