Experts say that Katrina's destructive power will be comparable to catastrophic consequences of the recent tsunami in Southeast Asia
Katrina, the powerful hurricane, has been raging in the south-east of the USA for several days already. The storm has already killed seven people in Florida and left about two million people without electricity. Hundreds of thousands of people are being evacuated from the disastrous region. On Sunday the hurricane started nearing Louisiana. President George W. Bush announced the state an emergency territory; people hurry to pack most valuable things and leave their homes.
Oil prices have hit another record against the background of the natural disaster – more than $70 per barrel.
Florida was the first state to take the impact of raging nature. The stormy wind, the speed of which reached 150 km/h, and rising waters were sweeping away everything on their way. Seven people were killed, hundreds were wounded. All the seven victims were killed with fallen trees. About one million homes in Miami's area were left without electric power supplies because of broken wires. According to various estimates, Katrina caused an immense damage to Florida, which was evaluated at the sum from $600 million to $2 billion. A lot of tourists found themselves trapped in the disastrous area because of canceled flights.
As the hurricane approaches the state of Louisiana, the wind reaches the speed of 260 km/h. Specialists say that the largest city of the state, New Orleans, is likely to suffer most as a result of the hurricane. The city is situated on the surface, which is lower than the Caribbean Sea level: the city, which has the 1.5-million strong population, will probably be flooded completely. President Bush declared an emergency for the state of Louisiana, local authorities take urgent measures to evacuate people and tourists from the dangerous zone.
The wind power of Katrina hurricane reaches 185 km/h and has an increasing tendency. The epicenter of the storm is situated about 600 kilometers far from New Orleans. Texas and Alabama are taking measures for Katrina's possible strike too.
Louisiana, as well as Taxes, is the largest oil-extracting state in the USA. The news about the approaching hurricane made oil prices skyrocket and set a new maximum level of more than 70 dollars per dollar.
Katrina became the second powerful storm to have hit the USA this summer. Florida and Alabama suffered from the attack of Dennis hurricane in July, when three-meter waves were inundating coastal cities. Dennis left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity, although the hurricane ended without any victims. Such powerful storms struck this region of the USA only twice before, in 1935 and 1969. Andrew and Hugo hurricanes (occurred in 1992 and 1989 respectively) caused the most catastrophic damage for the States: Andrew ended with dozens of victims and the total damage was estimated at $26.5 billion, whereas Hugo also killed dozens and caused seven billion dollars of damage.
Experts say that Katrina's destructive power will be comparable to catastrophic consequences of the recent tsunami in Southeast Asia. Katrina is said to cause serious damage to 80 percent of buildings in New Orleans. The computer modeling of the hurricane strike showed that the inundation of the industrial and oil-processing areas on the outskirts of New Orleans may result in the contamination of water with toxic chemicals. Oil companies have already evacuated their employees from the wells in the Gulf of Mexico and reduced the oil extraction by 40 percent.
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