MIAMI -- The once
extremely powerful Hurricane Katrina continued to wreak havoc on
its path through the Gulf Coast states as it stormed its way
northward toward the Ohio Valley.
As of the latest
advisory, though, Katrina had been downgraded from the Category 4
storm it was at landfall -- with winds near 145 mph -- and measured
in as a Category 1 storm with sustained winds near 75 mph at press
landfall just after 6 a.m. CDT Aug. 29 as a strong Category 4 storm
near the bayou town of Buras, La., after spending time the previous
day as an extremely dangerous Category 5 storm with maximum wind
speeds reaching 175 mph. Katrina first made landfall Aug. 25 near
Hallandale, Fla., as a Category 1 storm and regenerated again after
traveling over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
landfall near Buras, Katrina hit New
Orleans Monday morning, pounding the city with 145-mph winds.
Windows were blown off the side of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in
downtown New Orleans, but all guests had been previously evacuated
from the rooms and took shelter in the hotels ballroom. Meanwhile,
thousands of residents sought shelter in the Louisiana
Superdome, home of the National Football
Leagues New Orleans Saints, but the storm
tore through its top. According to a
Superdome spokesperson, the structure and its temporary residents
were in no immediate danger.
widespread throughout the region, from Miami/Dade County, Fla.,
where the storm first hit land, to New Orleans, where parts of
Interstate 10 were submerged.
In addition, the storm
caused widespread power outages throughout the area, with about 1.3
million people in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida
without power, according to Associated Press reports.
There have been at
least 15 confirmed deaths due to Hurricane Katrina: three in New
Orleans during the evacuation of the city; seven in Florida during
the first landfall; two in Alabama; and three in
Mississippi. Authorities fear many others
may be dead or trapped in buildings awaiting rescue.
According to damage
estimates, Katrina could become the most expensive storm in U.S.
history, costing insurers up to $25 billion, surpassing Hurricane
Andrew, which cost insurers $15.5 billion.
To contact the
reporters who wrote this article, send e-mail to David Cogswell or
TravelWeekly.com managing editor Kimberly Scholz at [email protected] or [email protected].