Katrina Plows Through Gulf States

Hurricane Katrina plowed through the Gulf Coast area today, including New Orleans, wreaking havoc and leaving trails of broken glass in her wake.

While the storm weakened overnight to a Category 4 and turned slightly eastward before hitting land early on Monday morning, reports of devastation filled newspapers, television reports and Web coverage throughout the day.

Scores of windows were reported blown out at New Orleans hotels. Among the earliest reports were the destruction of the French doors on the balcony at the hotel Le Richelieu in the French Quarter of the city, and broken windows in the high-rise Hyatt in the city's downtown waterfront area.

According to weather projections, Dependable Glass Works Inc., in Covington, La., was in the path of the storm. Efforts to reach the company were unsuccessful with widespread reports of power outages and downed telephone lines.

At the Superdome, which served as shelter for 9,000 storm refugees who had not evacuated New Orleans, wind peeled off pieces of metal on the golden roof, leaving two holes that were visible from the floor, according to press reports. People holed up in the facility watched as sheets of metal, flapped and rumbled loudly.

When Katrina went across south Florida over the weekend, she was weaker, but still managed to do considerable damage. Insurance companies deployed hundreds of adjusters and opened several mobile offices on Saturday to take claims and begin writing checks for policyholders whose homes and autos had been damaged by the storm.

Storms such as this have been the impetus for the hurricane codes which have been put in place in much of Florida. Requiring stronger glass has resulted in less damage to commercial structures than in the years before the codes started to be changed.

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