Katrina's future may be uncertain, but her past is an open book and it tells a story of deadly devastation in south Florida.
With six dead, thousands without power and water everywhere, the Florida panhandle is bracing for Katrina the sequel. The hurricane is now in the Gulf of Mexico and it could swing by the Sunshine State once again early next week, and unlike its first incarnation, Katrina is expected to strike parts of the Gulf coast as a category 2, 3 or possibly even a category 4 hurricane.
Max Mayfield, National Hurricane Center Director, says, "There's no doubt in our minds that this will become a major hurricane if given enough time."
Meanwhile, Florida's southeastern communities are recovering from Katrina's first appearance. The storm made landfall Thursday night between Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.
Many residents underestimated the relatively weak hurricane, which brought strong wind gusts and dumped more than a foot of rain. Several people were killed, and more than a million homes and businesses lost power.
Ryan Quavis, a Miami resident, said, “It was worse than I thought it was going to be.”
Despite the storm's intensity, Gov. Bush says most counties are well prepared to handle the cleanup, but he's worried about the psyche of Floridians. They've had to deal with six hurricanes in one year.
Gov. Jeb Bush says, "It wears you down, in spite of the fact that we're a pretty resilient state."
Authorities are still waiting for official damage reports from Katrina's first landfall, but some estimate the figure should not exceed $600 million. Now, residents in northwest Florida can only cross their fingers and hope the state has seen the worst of Katrina.
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