KATRINA UPDATE….On Monday it looked like New Orleans had escaped the worst of Hurricane Katrina. Now it looks like the worst just took an extra day to happen:
The sense of relief that residents felt Monday morning when the city was not immediately inundated by a storm surge overflowing its protective levees was replaced late Monday night and Tuesday morning with dread because of a levee that was damaged by the hurricane.
….The damage to the 17th Street Canal and its levee means that the water from Lake Pontchartrain is now free to flow down to inundate hundreds of thousands of homes and other buildings here.
Once it flows in, the water will not drain from New Orleans because of the very levees that protect the city and that largely held during the hurricane. Those levees, built to keep water out, are now keeping the water in, and reports from across the city indicate that water levels are rising.
Authorities plan to use helicopters to drop 3,000-pound sandbags into the breach in the damaged levee, the Associated Press reported. The breach is said to be about 200 feet long. There were reports Tuesday that other levees may also have given way in the hours since the storm passed.
Death tolls are going up, damage estimates have increased to about $25 billion, and it now looks as if New Orleans will be uninhabitable for at least a month.