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Hurricane Katrina Intensifies to Category 5

by Kevin Caruso

August 28, 2005

Hurricane Katrina intensified to a Category 5 (the highest category) on Sunday, August 28th. Sustained winds have been measured at over 160 mph and gusts at over 200 mph.

Hurricane Katrina Satellite Photo

"This is a very, very dangerous hurricane," said National Hurricane Center director Max Mayfield.

The storm is expected to make landfall on Monday, and could cause extensive damage.

Mandatory evacuations are in effect in all vulnerable areas of southern Louisiana and Mississippi.

New Orleans is highly vulnerable because the city rests an average of six feet BELOW sea level; so many of the major interstate highways, including 10, 12, 55, and 59, were lined with bumper-to-bumper cars heading out of town.

"I can't emphasize enough…how serious FEMA is taking this storm," said Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said. "We've done a lot of planning for a hurricane striking New Orleans because of New Orleans lying below sea level."

Hurricane Camille, which hit in 1969 and killed 255 people, was the last major hurricane to hit the area.

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