President Bush on approved major disaster declarations for Louisiana and Mississippi The declarations will allow federal funds to start being used to deploy resources to help victims of Hurricane Katrina in those two states.
The Associated Press reports Hurricane Katrina weakened overnight to a Category 4 storm and made a slight turn to the right before making landfall at 6:10 a.m. CDT near the bayou town of Buras. Katrina passed just to the east of New Orleans as it moved inland. Although New Orleans avoided the worse case scenario, the hurricane caused lots damage:
Elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, the storm flung boats onto land in Mississippi, lashed street lamps and flooded roads in Alabama, and swamped highway bridges in the Florida Panhandle. At least a half-million people were without power from Louisiana to Florida's Panhandle, including 370,000 in southeastern Louisiana and 116,400 in Alabama, mostly in the Mobile area.
At New Orleans' Superdome, home to 9,000 storm refugees, the wind peeled pieces of metal from the golden roof, leaving two holes that let water drip in. People inside were moved out of the way. Others stayed and watched as sheets of metal flapped and rumbled loudly 19 stories above the floor.
Building manager Doug Thornton said the larger hole was 15 to 20 feet long and four to five feet wide. Outside, one of the 10-foot, concrete clock pylons set up around the Superdome blew over.
Elsewhere in the city, the storm shattered scores of windows in high-rise office buildings and on five floors of the Charity Hospital, forcing patients to be moved to lower levels. At the Windsor Court Hotel, guests were told to go into the interior hallways with blankets and pillows and to keep the doors to the rooms closed to avoid flying glass.
At VodkaPundit, Will Collier has posted links to a few "live" media weblogs from New Orleans and Biloxi, Mississippi.
As bad as Hurricane Katrina is, just be thankful that the storm didn't achieve all that it could have.