Wow, I’ll bet all those “probably only a category one hurricane” meteorologists feel like idiots. Hurricane Katrina skipped off the tip of Florida and began a lazy arc through the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, strengthening into a 160mph category 5 killer hurricane. Look at the picture above (or see the full image at Nasa.gov). Yes… that’s right… it has two solidly defined eye walls. It has a little sugar-coated doughnut hurricane within the big pinwheely one. New Orleans is screwed. It is doubtful that this thing is going to weaken much at all before it hits. The winds near the eye (or eyes) are going to be up in the 240mph range, likely.
Only three category 5 storms (those with sustained winds above 155mph) have hit the United States since records started being kept. They hit in 1935, 1968, and 1992. Andrew in 1992 basically leveled Homestead, FL, causing $26.5 billion worth of damage. Here’s a picture of a tugboat sitting in someone’s front lawn.
If you’re in the affected areas… just get out. Possibly 10 people are already dead from Katrina, and that was when it was a category 1 hurricane. Take your family, your valuables, and get out. This isn’t some “tape up your windows” game… this is the storm of the decade.