And she looks like one nasty, nasty witch of a storm. For all those who are in the afflicted areas—including my friend's brother, a local pastor who stayed to help with relief efforts—stay safe and know that our thoughts are with you.
Some sites for more info:
New Orleans MetroBlog (local residents reporting their experiences)
If this is as bad as some are predicting, one of the U.S.'s premier meeting cities could be rendered uninhabitable for quite a while. From an AP story:
Experts have warned for years that the levees and pumps that usually keep New Orleans dry have no chance against a direct hit by a Category 5 storm.
That's exactly what Katrina was as it churned toward the city. With top winds of 160 mph and the power to lift sea level by as much as 28 feet above normal, the storm threatened an environmental disaster of biblical proportions, one that could leave more than 1 million people homeless.
"All indications are that this is absolutely worst-case scenario,'' Ivor van Heerden, deputy director of the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center, said Sunday afternoon.
The center's latest computer simulations indicate that by Tuesday, vast swaths of New Orleans could be under water up to 30 feet deep. In the French Quarter, the water could reach 20 feet, easily submerging the district's iconic cast-iron balconies and bars.