Hungry, thirsty and sweaty South Floridians waited for hours in lines that sometimes stretched for miles to get food, ice and water Saturday, two days after Hurricane Katrina knocked out power and flooded hundreds of streets and homes.
Some Panhandle residents were slightly relieved that the 115-mph storm appeared less likely to make a second landfall in their area sometime Monday, but many weren't placing too much faith in forecasts that shift as fast as a hurricane's winds blow.
The Category 3 Katrina was expected to get even stronger in the Gulf of Mexico's warm waters _ high-octane fuel for hurricanes. The National Hurricane Center warned that it could become a top-of-the-scale Category 5, with winds topping 155 mph.
Flooding appeared to be the main concern, but it was unclear how many homes were damaged. Initial insured damage estimates were in the relatively low range of $600 million to $2 billion.
Residents plowed through flooded streets without traffic lights, searching for grocery stores that were open or emergency aid. Flood waters subsided a bit as rains died down and the sun shone in some areas. About 815,000 homes and businesses were without power, down from a peak of 1.45 million, as temperatures soared into the 90s, Washingtonpost.com reports.