Just after midnight, at 12:40 AM CDT (0540 UTC), Hurricane Katrina reached Category 4 intensity with 145 mph winds.
At 2:00 AM Katrina escalates to Category 4 strength, heading for the Gulf Coast. The last time Mississippi or Louisiana saw landfall from a Category 4 or stronger storm was 1969 with Hurricane Camille.
By 7:00 AM CDT (1200 UTC), it was a Category 5 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 175 mph (280 km/h), gusts up to 215 mph (344 km/h) and a central pressure of 902 mbar.
NEWSPAPER SIGNALS LEVEES MAY GIVE:
The boost came just hours after Katrina reached category 4, with wind of 233km/h, (145 mph) as it gathered energy from the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico.
A category 5 hurricane - the highest on the Saffir-Simpson scale - is capable of causing catastrophic damage. Only three category 5 storms have hit the United States since record-keeping began.
Officials worried that not enough people were taking the monster storm seriously enough.
need to take this very seriously and get to a safe area while they can,"
Katrina, blamed for eleven deaths in South Florida, was expected to hit the Gulf Coast early Monday and a hurricane warning was in effect from Morgan City to the Alabama-Florida line.
At 8:00 AM, Katrina's centre was about 400km (249 mph) south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, the hurricane center said. It was moving west-northwest at about 19km/h (12mph).
Hurricane force-wind of at least 119km/h (74 mph) extended up to 136km (85 mph) from the centre.
The storm had the potential for storm surge flooding of up to 8m (26 feet), topped with even higher waves, as much as 38cm (1.2 feet) of rain, and tornadoes.
been here 33 years, and we've always been concerned about New Orleans,"
"I had to let the mayor know that this storm has the potential not only to cause large property damage, but large loss of life if people don't make the right decision."
could be a disaster for New Orleans because the bowl-like city sits
below sea-level and needs levees and pumps to keep water out,
AM CDT President Bush calls Governor Blanco and
urges her to evacuate the endangered areas. Publicly, he urges all
those living in the path of the hurricane to put their personal
safety ahead of all other concerns.
as Katrina hits 175 mph winds, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin orders
mandatory evacuations less than 24 hours before Katrina's projected
landfall, as the storm seems to beat a direct path to the city and
facing its worst fear
The city essentially sits in a bowl, protected by a series of levies that keep the Mississippi River waters out.
Nagin warned that Katrina's expected storm surge - which could top 28 feet - would likely topple those levies.
10 shelters are also set up, including the Superdome, for those unable to leave.
These evacuations appear to include the Parishes/Counties of Saint Charles, Saint James, Assumption, Plaquemines, Jefferson, especially the Coastal Areas. Katrina is currently packing winds of 160 miles per hour and gusts to 200 mph. The mayor states that, "We have identified the Superdome as our primary, designated center of last refuge." He also states, "If the Superdome fills, there are other high profile buildings that we feel that are available and could provide us with some additional shelter." When a reporter replies with, "like, such as", the Mayor states, "I prefer not to get into that right now."
At 9:30AM New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin called for a first-ever mandatory evacuation of the city this morning, saying that Hurricane Katrina's devastating power may well create the sort of cataclysmic damage that residents have long worried that a killer storm could cause in a city that lies mostly below sea level.
Were facing the storm most of us have feared, said Nagin. This is going to be an unprecedented event. Times-Picayune
Residents are asked to bring food for 3-5 days, pillows, blankets, and any other supplies needed.
Late in the afternoon- President Bush, FEMA Director Mike Brown and and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff were warned of levee failure by National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Max Mayfield.
"We were briefing
them way before landfall . . .
US President George W Bush had declared a state of emergency in Louisiana.
LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD
REQUESTS 700 BUSES FROM FEMA FOR EVACUATIONS:
9:46AM CDT Mayor
Nagin of New Orleans exempts Hospitals and Hotels from the
In a press conference at roughly 10:00 AM CDT, Nagin declared that "a mandatory evacuation order is hereby called for all of the parish of Orleans." "We're facing the storm most of us have feared," he told the early-morning news conference, with the governor at his side. Following Nagin's speech, Governor Blanco stated that President Bush called her "just before" the press conference and said that he was "concerned about the storm's impact and asked her "to please ensure that there would be a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans." Katrina was expected to make landfall overnight. Shortly after the meeting, at 10:00 AM CDT (1500 UTC), the National Weather Service issued a bulletin predicting "devastating" damage.
Advisory of 10:00 am, location is 225 miles SSE of the Mouth
of the Mississippi River, sustained winds of 175 miles per hour and
gusts to over 200 mph, moving WNW at 12 miles per hour, pressure 907
mb. Center of projected landfall path is about 15 miles east of New
Orleans with a possibility of error of about 100 miles. Expected wave
heights of 35 to 40 feet and tidal surges of over 25 feet. Hurricane
warnings have been issued for locations between Morgan City,
Louisiana to Pensacola, Florida.
Evacuation orders are posted all along the Mississippi coast.
Hurricane Katrina strengthened to a category 5 on Sunday with 257km/h (160 mph) sustained wind as residents of south Louisiana jammed highways in a rush to flee the powerful storm.
The US National Hurricane Centre put out a special advisory on the hurricane's gain in strength just before
At 12:00 PM CDT (1700 UTC), the Louisiana Superdome was opened as a, "refuge of last resort," for those residents that were unable to obtain safe transport out of the city.
About 26,000 New Orleans residents sought refuge from Hurricane Katrina at the Superdome, which authorities describe as the "shelter of last resort," Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu said late Sunday. To help keep them fed and hydrated, the Louisiana National Guard delivered three truckloads of water and seven truckloads of MREs, short for "meals ready to eat." That's enough to supply 15,000 people for three days, according to Col. Jay Mayeaux, deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Emergency Preparedness.
Outside the New Orleans area, the Louisiana Red Cross has opened 45 emergency shelters that were serving about 3,000 evacuees as of late Sunday, said Victor Howell, who heads the Red Cross of the Louisiana Capital Area.
1:31 PM CDT (Weather Channel): Location is 180 miles SSE of the Mouth of the Mississippi River, sustained winds of 175 miles per hour, moving NW at 13 miles per hour, pressure 906 mb. Center of second projected landfall path is still between New Orleans, Louisiana and Gulfport, Mississippi with a possibility of error of about 100 miles. Expected wave heights of 35 to 40 feet and tidal surges of 20 to 25 feet.
1:34 PM CDT (Weather Channel): Weather Channel reports that Katrina's sustained winds are now 184 miles per hour, moving NW at 13 miles per hour, pressure 902 mb.
2:39 PM CDT (Fox News, Accu-Weather analyst, Joe Bastardi): Predicts an initial landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River and secondary landfall near the Pearl River, just east of New Orleans. Joe Bastardi predicts that the storm may have winds of 120-130 miles per hour as it passes east of New Orleans and that after it moves northeast of New Orleans, the northerly winds will blow Lake Pontchartrain's waters into New Orleans. Joe Bastardi states, "You just gotta get out of there ... You have to understand, we're dealing with something that is beyond what you have seen, and it's not Dennis, and it's not Ivan, and it's not Lily. It's Katrina, and it will always be remembered that, just the way Camille was on the Mississippi. This will be remembered in a large area. ... Words can not express my fear for folks living in this whole arc right in here [Southeast Louisiana to Pascagoula, Mississippi] and that includes New Orleans. ... This has the power of Camille and the size of Betsy."
At 2:42 PM. CDT (Fox News, Shepard Smith on the phone]: "We were listening to the radio, emergency evacuation preparedness type people have been on the radio non-stop for most of the day and one thing that was said by the mayor, he was asked a question by outside media from outside New Orleans about shelters and ah safe places and the like. Well, he made the point and made it quite vocally that many years ago the National Red Cross and Federal Emergency Management Agency came together and said, there is no such as thing a shelter in Jefferson Parish, there is no such thing as a safe place to have an evacuation center in all of Jefferson Parish, that's the half million people in New Orleans and surrounding areas, because of the situation of levees and dykes and pumping stations and all the rest, if you lose the power and you lose the generators and you lose the ability to pump water out, ah, then according to those emergency managers, nothing's safe. Ah, old school New Orleanians, ah, are not believing it. You know, I'm not at all surprised and ah, and ah, I'm hoping."
PM (CDT) THe National Weather Service issues a SPECIAL
NHC 10 p.m. Katrina advisory
At 10 PM, the National Hurricane center shifted Katrina's path a slight bit east and says it may have lost a little bit of strength. However, they're officially saying it's still at 160 mph, a Category 5.
The storm is apparently going through an eyewall replacement cycle, with the inner wall with highest winds beginning to erode and being replaced by a new, wider wall.
The good news is that that could mean the top windspeeds could be only Category 4 at landfall. The bad news is that the new eye will be wider, expanding the area affected by hurricane-force and highest winds.
However, they're still estimating 156 mph winds in 12 hours as the storm reaches the coast. That puts landfall at about 10 a.m., but hurricane-force winds will occur in a few hours.
Coast Guard closes ports, waterways
The U.S. Coast Guard closed ports and waterways along the Gulf Coast Sunday as Hurricane Katrina neared its expected landfall Monday morning, according to a Guard news release.
All commercial ships and Coast Guard-regulated barge over 200 gross tons were ordered to leave ports between Long Beach, Miss. and the Aucilla River, Fla., which includes ports in Panama City, Pensecola, Mobile, Pascagoula and Gulfport.
The Guard also moved 40 aircraft and 30 boats and cutters in positions surrounding the expected strike zone, such as Houston and Jacksonville, readying to conduct search and rescue and humanitarian missions, the Guard release said.
Area could see hurricane force winds near midnight
Jefferson Parish Emergency Management Director Walter Maestri at a 10:35 p.m. news conference said the latest information from the National Weather Service indicated that Katrina was bound head-on to the New Orleans metropolitan area.
Maestri said that the region would see the first hurricane force winds of 75 mph about midnight.
"We are looking at a storm that is a cause of concern,'' Maestri said.
He implored residents to get off the streets and head to shelter. Jefferson Parish opened three shelters of last resort Sunday afternoon at Bonnabel High School in Kenner, Worley Middle School in Westwego and Truman Middle School in Marrero.
Grand Isle power out
Wind gusts clocked at 80 mph knocked out power Sunday in Grand Isle and Port Fourchon about 9:30 p.m., ahead of Hurricane Katrina's landfall, Department of Transportation and Development spokesman Mark Lambert said. Gusts up to 74 mph also caused damage in south Plaquemines Parish, Lambert said.
Washing Away: The worst-case scenarios
worst-case scenarios of a major hurricane striking New Orleans were
detailed in a significant Times-Picayune series, "Washing
Five-Part Series published June 23-27, 2002
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