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Katrina forces New Orleans evacuations

It's being predicted as a Cat 5, the worst. And headed straight to Nawlins. It is weird, I have heard from one friend in Florida about how the storm was much worse than what the mainstream media were predicting. Like they wanted people to be unprepared. So they -- the powers that be-- could provide a solution the problem, NWO-style. FEMA is primed up.

Here's one article of interest, I feel for the folks in Louisiana. This storm is unprecedented...

New Orleans Ordered to Evacuate as Hurricane Katrina Approaches

Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- New Orleans residents were ordered to evacuate the city today as Hurricane Katrina, the strongest storm of the Atlantic season, approached the U.S. Gulf Coast with 160 mile-an-hour winds.

Mayor Ray Nagin said only essential personnel and individuals unable to travel can remain in the city of 500,000. He spoke at a press conference. There are 1.3 million people in the greater New Orleans area. Thousands of people already have left the city and other parts of southern Louisiana,

Thirty-three of the state's parishes declared a state of emergency, and mandatory evacuations were in place in parts of at least nine of those, according to the Louisiana State Police Web site.

About 30,000 people evacuated yesterday, and thousands more are leaving southern parts of the state today, state police spokesman, Lieutenant Lawrence McLeary said in a telephone interview from Baton Rouge, the state capital. Oil companies also evacuated workers from Gulf facilities.

Katrina was upgraded to category 5 earlier today, U.S. National Hurricane Center spokesman David Miller said in a telephone interview from Miami. Such storms, with winds greater than 155 miles an hour (249 kph) can tear roofs off homes, blow down all trees and shrubs, and cause flooding. Only three Category Five hurricanes have hit the U.S. since records began.

``Katrina continues not only grow stronger, but it continues to grow larger,'' the city of New Orleans said in a statement posted before Nagin's press conference on its Web site. ``Everyone along the northern Gulf of Mexico needs to take this hurricane very seriously and put action plans into play now.''

Gulf of Mexico

Katrina, with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph, was over the Gulf of Mexico, about 250 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi river at 7 a.m. local time, according to an advisory posted on the Hurricane Center's Web site. The storm was moving toward the west-northwest at 12 mph, and forecast to make a ``gradual turn'' toward the northwest and north-northwest over the next day.

"We're very concerned about the possible damage to New Orleans and to the entire southern region,'' Mark Smith, a spokesman for the Louisiana Security and Emergency Preparedness department said in a telephone interview from Baton Rouge. "We strongly recommend evacuation from New Orleans,'' he said, adding that it's "likely'' the evacuation will become mandatory in the city and surrounding areas, an order that would affect 1.3 million people.


A direct hit by Katrina could be devastating to New Orleans, a port in the Mississippi River delta that depends on a series of pumps and levees to keep the city dry. Some neighborhoods lie as much as 20 feet below sea level.

Mandatory evacuations were in force in the whole of St, James, St. Charles, Plaquemines and Assumption parishes, and for parts of Orleans, Jefferson and Lafourche parishes, he said. The police Web site said forced evacuation was also in force in parts of St. Bernard and Terrebonne parishes.

Katrina swept through Florida last week, killing four people and cutting out power for more than a million homes.

A hurricane warning, meaning hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours, was in effect from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the border between Alabama and Florida, according to the advisory. A tropical storm warning and hurricane watch were in place from the state boundary to Destin in Florida, and from Morgan City to Intracoastal City in Louisiana.

Katrina is a "potentially catastrophic'' storm, the center said. "Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.'' Hurricane-force winds extended 85 miles from the storm's center, with tropical storm-force winds stretching 185 miles, according to the advisory.

Storm Surge

Coastal storm-surge flooding of as high as 25 feet is possible in areas, with "dangerous battering waves,'' the center said. Isolated tornadoes are also possible later today in southern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida panhandle, according to the statement.

Only three category five storms have made U.S. landfall since records began, according to the hurricane center: The Labor Day hurricane of 1935, Hurricane Camille in 1969, and Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Andrew, which hit southern Miami-Dade county in August that year, caused $26.5 billion of losses, the costliest hurricane on record.

Oil touched a record $68 a barrel last week in New York on concern Katrina might disrupt supplies from the Gulf of Mexico. Prices fell Friday, when early forecasts of the storm's path had it missing most of the Gulf's production platforms.

The projected path has shifted west since then, making it a greater threat to oil and gas rigs, which are mostly off the coasts of Louisiana and Texas.


Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe's second-biggest oil company, evacuated 465 offshore personnel as of Aug. 26 and was to remove another 554, according to the company's Web site. All of Shell's central and eastern Gulf of Mexico facilities were expected to be shut, affecting production of about 420,000 barrels of oil and 1.35 billion cubic feet of gas a day, the company said.

Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest oil company, is evacuating workers and has shut daily production of about 3,000 barrels of oil and 50 million cubic feet of gas, spokeswoman Susan Reeves said.

BP Plc has evacuated rigs and platforms in the Gulf as a precaution, spokeswoman Ayana McIntosh-Lee said yesterday. Output hasn't been affected, she said.

Transocean Inc., the world's biggest offshore driller, is evacuating four semi-submersible rigs in the Gulf: the Transocean Amirante, the Falcon 100, the Transocean Marianas and the Deepwater Nautilus, spokesman Guy Cantwell said yesterday.

Two other semi-submersibles and two drill ships have disconnected from their wells and are moving out of the hurricane's path, and two more drill ships are disconnecting and may move if they need to, Cantwell said. The driller has evacuated 289 workers, and expects to evacuate another 193 by the end of the day, he said.

The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, the biggest U.S. oil import terminal, stopped unloading cargoes from tankers at noon New Orleans time yesterday, spokesman Mark Bugg said. The port's onshore facilities, where crude is stored and dispatched to pipelines, may be shut tomorrow, he said.

The port is about 20 miles off the Louisiana coast and handles about 1 million barrels of crude oil a day, or 11 percent of U.S. imports. It consists of mooring buoys, platforms and pipelines. Unloading of a tanker carrying west African crude oil was stopped earlier yesterday, Bugg said.