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August 29, 2005
Katrina Weakening?

Katrina has shifted in the last hours before complete landfall and weakened slightly, perhaps giving New Orleans enough respite to survive its fury, according to the latest dispatches from the National Hurricane Center:

Hurricane Katrina edged slightly to the east early Monday as it bore down on the Gulf Coast, providing some hope that the worst of the storm's 150 mph winds might not directly strike this low-lying city.

Katrina, which weakened slightly overnight to a strong Category 4 storm, turned slightly eastward as it closed in on land, which would put the western eyewall the weaker side of the strongest winds over New Orleans.

"It's not as bad as the eastern side. It'll be plenty bad enough," said Eric Blake of the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Mayor Ray Nagin said he believed 80 percent of the city's 480,000 residents had heeded an unprecedented mandatory evacuation as Katrina threatened to become the most powerful storm ever to slam the city.

"It's capable of causing catastrophic damage," said National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield. "Even well-built structures will have tremendous damage. Of course, what we're really worried about is the loss of lives.

"New Orleans may never be the same."

The city's mayor believes that 80% of the residents obeyed a mandatory evacuation order, but the damage will still be immense even if the loss of life remains low. Weather services predict most houses will not survive the storm, and that even stronger structures will suffer major damage. Some predict that over a million people could be made homeless, despite the storm's weakening condition.

Oil prices, meanwhile, have spiked in the Far East in the first market action since close of business Friday, when predictions had Katrina landing elsewhere. Crude futures have gone above $70, but the real problem in the US will not come from crude supply but from the loss of refining capacity in the Gulf area. We could easily see a large price spike as refineries shut down -- refineries that already have to operate at 97% capacity to keep up with demand. That means we do not have the spare capacity to take over and keep the supply level, which will create a terrible market distortion if it goes on too long. The region hardest hit by this imbalance will be the same hit by Katrina, but it will ripple throughout the national economy as well.

We'll keep praying for New Orleans and the Gulf region that Katrina weakens and keeps shifting for the least possible effect once it hits.

Keep checking with Michelle Malkin for updates and the best links.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 29, 2005 5:05 AM

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» Homeless and Katrina from Homeless SAMURAI
Large damage has occurred in Louisiana state in the United States because of the hurricane that is called Katrina. Many of victims are the poorest segment of the populations. Homeless people might be included in the victim. I am praying for the revival wi [Read More]

Tracked on September 9, 2005 10:49 AM

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