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Big Easy Braces

By: Drew Levinson/CBS News
By: Drew Levinson/CBS News

With little time to spare, Mike Mathern boarded up the windows of his home in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Mike says, "It’s just a pain every time there’s something close by; you can’t ignore it."

Just the sheer size of Hurricane Katrina makes it very hard to ignore. The storm’s packing winds of nearly 175 miles per hour and carries the threat of a massive storm surge. Experts expect catastrophic damage.

President Bush says, "We cannot stress enough the danger this hurricane poses to Gulf coast communities.”

The storm is expected to hit somewhere between Louisiana and Florida early Monday morning. Hundreds of thousands have been told to leave.

The mayor of New Orleans ordered a mandatory evacuation and has opened up the city's sports arena superdome for those who need special assistance or have nowhere else to go.

Hurricane experts say the eye of Katrina is very large, and when an eye is that big, the intensity of the storm is unlikely to fluctuate.

Peter Teahen of the American Red Cross says, “This is one not to take lightly, this is one not to say, oh, I’m just going to stay at home. This one will kill you.”

Seven died from this storm when it hit Florida on Thursday. Then it was only a category one. Now, it’s much stronger, and regardless of whether it hits land as a category 4 or 5, experts say the difference is like being hit by an 18-wheeler or a freight train, neither of which is good.


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