It's still a tragically devastating storm, but Katrina has been downgraded to a Category 3, and missed the direct hit on New Orleans that was predicted.
New Orleans, and the entire Gulf Coast, still have a lot of wind and water pummelling them. We won't know for some time what makes it through and what is destroyed. But we missed the worst-case scenario, the Category 5 slamming straight into the below sea level bowl that is the Crescent City.
Those who are left behind will, of course, be focused on clean-up, reconstruction, trying to spur a damaged economy. But we can hope that they also look to the future, take the steps necessary to protect the city and the area from the next storm, and the one after that.
We've seen increasingly strange weather these last few years. Florida's 4 major hurricanes last year. 11 named storms this year, so far. Killing heat waves, enormous wildfires. Wet winters some places, warm dry ones in others. Most scientists attribute these dramatic weather patterns to global warming, which the Bush administration continues to insist hasn't been proven. It's a theory, they say, like evolution, gravity, and the idea that the Earth revolves around the sun.
What will it take to get them to accept the realities of science? Why do they insist that non-science--the kind provided by the proponents of "intelligent design," or that provided by "scientists" owned lock, stock and slide rule by energy companies who don't want to admit that humans can impact the global environment.
Thanks for your good thoughts and prayers for New Orleans, and let's hold them for Biloxi, Jackson, Slidell, Pensacola, Mobile, Gulfport, the Tennessee and Ohio river valleys, and everyone else in harm's way today. And let's learn from this disaster to try to prepare for those yet to come.