Katrina May Be Strongest Gulf Storm Since Camille
Storm's Path Jogs West, New Orleans May Be Targeted
POSTED: 5:57 pm EDT August 26, 2005
UPDATED: 11:51 pm EDT August 26, 2005
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Hurricane Katrina's projected path of movement shifted west Friday night, moving Pascagoula, Miss., Mobile Bay and even New Orleans into the path of what may be one of the most powerful storms ever in the Gulf of Mexico, according to Local 6 News meteorologist Tom Sorrells.
Most computer models agree that the storm will make a due west swing in the Gulf and then shoot north taking many Florida city out of the projected path of movement.
"Now we are talking about a very dangerous Category 4 storm," Sorrells said. "It could become the nastiest thing in the Gulf of Mexico since Camille in the 60s. This is a bad storm."
Hurricane Camille, which hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast in August of 1969, is said to be the worst storm ever to hit mainland United States.
The National Hurricane Center says that Katrina -- which is now a Category 2 storm -- could reach near Category 4 strength by midday Monday.
Since there is no shear in the Gulf of Mexico, Sorrells said the storm could grow even stronger than a Category 4 storm.
"It is going to rage into a major, major hurricane before all is said and done," Sorrells said. "By the time it makes landfall Sunday into Monday, we are going to be talking about a giant Category 4 storm, according to the latest models, with maximum winds of 135 mph. There is a possibility that it can rage even larger."
At 11 p.m. Friday, the center of Katrina was located near latitude 24.6 north, Longitude 83.6 west or about 460 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River
Katrina is moving toward the west-southwest near 8 mph. A gradual turn to the west and west-northwest is expected on Saturday.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 105 mph with higher gusts.
Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 85 miles.
5 Missing Boaters Found
The Coast Guard said Friday that they found the family that was lost at sea.
Officials said the Larsen family had been missing since their 24-foot boat left Marathon at 6:45 a.m. Thursday. They were rescued off Everglades City.
Hurricane Katrina's projected path of movement shows the storm floating farther west in the Gulf of Mexico toward Pascagoula, Miss, Mobile Bay or even New Orleans as a powerful Category 4 storm, according to Local 6 News meteorologist Tom Sorrells.
Officials said Edward and Tina Larsen were spotted by a Coast Guard helicopter along with their children, ages 17, 14 and four. They were hoisted to safety and taken to Naples. Officials haven't released their medical conditions.
Hurricane Katrina had hindered the search because officials say the hurricane was sitting right on top of the search area.
Deaths Blamed On Storm
Officials said seven people have died in Florida because of Hurricane Katrina. The following describes some of the deaths:
A man died after a tree fell on his car while it was parked near Stranahan High School in Fort Lauderdale.
A 54-year-old man was killed outside his house by a falling tree in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Plantation. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Broward County authorities.
A woman was struck by a tree and died at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood.
A 79-year-old man and his dog were killed when his car struck a fallen tree in Cooper City.
James Paolillo was driving when he crashed into a tree that had fallen on the roadway during the storm, the Broward Sheriff's Office said. He then drove around the debris, continued driving eastbound in a westbound lane, and crashed into a standing tree on the shoulder of the road.
Paramedics found Paolillo and his small dog dead inside the car, the sheriff's office said.