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Cat. 5 Hurricane Katrina Heads Towards New Orleans

Cat. 5 Katrina Heads Towards New Orleans

Written by Lesly Simmons , Writer, Redcross.org

Sunday, August 28, 2005 — Hurricane Katrina is now an incredibly strong Category 5 storm heading straight for New Orleans with sustained winds at 175 miles per hour.

“This is a once in a lifetime event,” said New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. ““We are telling all of our citizens to leave New Orleans. Never before has the city of New Orleans seen a storm this big heading directly toward it.”

Mandatory evacuations are in place for the entire New Orleans metropolitan area. About 70 percent of New Orleans is below sea level, and the city is protected by a series of levees. Katrina could cause storm surges up to 20 feet, which would completely overwhelm the levees and cause massive flooding.

“The problem we are having is that if the storm surges are that high, they will pop our levels and lots of New Orleans will be under water,” said Nagin, who is urging seriousness, but not panic.

Katrina is now moving west/northwest at 12 mph, putting its arrival time in the New Orleans area sometime tomorrow morning or early afternoon.

This storm is stronger than Hurricane Camille, the devastating storm that hit New Orleans in 1969. Camille killed 256 people after it slammed ashore with winds at over 200 miles per hour. Thousands of people were left homeless all along the shore and far inland.

Only three Cat. 5 storms have ever hit the United States:

• The unnamed Labor Day hurricane of 1935;

• Hurricane Camille in 1969; and

• Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Katrina might also disrupt the nation’s oil supply, as Nagin said nearly one-third of the nation’s oil moves through the area. He added that at least 1,500 National Guard troops are available, to deploy and assist with cleanup efforts after the storm moves through the area.

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of this disaster and thousands of other disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting http://www.redcross.org/.

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