We'll leave this one alone for a few hours, until it nears land or strikes, but things continue to worse.
As always, please stop by CFB blogger Brendan Loy for more information. I'm basically piggybacking his coverage (sans CFB angle). There's a cool chart of links and information on the left menu on his site.
- Barometric pressure continues to drop. This thing is basically in its big bad wolf "I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house down" phase out in the WARM gulf waters. Brendan's making courageous analogies to Lord of the Rings quotes. Oh dear.
- The Mayor of New Orleans finally issued a mandatory evacuation order after a urgent call from the state's governor asking him to call the National Hurricane Center and get a better briefing on what's going on. Tulane University is located in/near New Orleans and shut itself down today.
- Barometric pressure levels and other indicators are suggesting this will be a storm that could very well reach a high Category IV or even Category V levels.
- Lastly, weather bloggers are putting fairly high odds at serious disaster for the city of New Orleans if this hurricane hits. A good excerpt below-
If Katrina makes a direct hit on New Orleans as a Category 4 hurricane, the levees protecting the city will be breached, and New Orleans, which is 6 - 10 feet below sea level, will fill with water. On top of this 6 feet of water will come a 15 foot storm surge, and on top of that will be 20 foot waves, so the potential for high loss of life is great. Given the current track and intensity forecast, I'd put the odds of this at about 20%
- Some other good sources to keep an eye on the storm, other than the Weather Channel right now include blogger Eye of the Storm (great read, and sincerely worried about this one), the National Hurricane Center's Katrina tracker, and Dr. Jeff Masters' blog.