by Kevin Caruso
August 28, 2005
Hurricane Katrina Nears the Gulf Coast
Hurricane Katrina will hit the Gulf Coast at about 4 a.m. ET on Monday, August 29th.
When the storm makes landfall, it will be a Category 4 or 5, and will have sustained winds of up to 160 mph.
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin declared a state of emergency on Sunday and ordered a mandatory evacuation. Over 1 million residents fled, but tens of thousands of residents either did not have the ability to flee, or simply decided to stay.
Approximately 20,000 people have taken refuge in the Louisiana Superdome.
Kathleen Blanco, the Governor of Louisiana, said that New Orleans will most probably lose its electricity and water service and will probably be flooded.
Because about 70 percent of New Orleans is below sea level, a system of levees keeps
the Mississippi river from flooding the city. Heavy flooding may occur if the storm surges are higher than the levees. Catastrophic flooding would occur if any section of the levees collapsed during the storm.
The storm is quite large, with hurricane-force winds extending 105 miles from the eye, and tropical storm-force winds extending over 230 miles.