The 17th St levee break is allowing the waters of Lake Pontchartrain into the city. If they are unable to somehow plug the two-block-long break, worst case scenario, the flood levels could equalize out with the lake — Don't forget, NOLA is 10 feet below sea level — and turn NOLA into a toxic soup.
Residents who managed to evacuate some parishes are being told that they will be allowed to go back to their homes next week, but only to rescue personal belongings. It will be at least a month before they can return home for good, assuming they have a home to get back to.
Heavens knows what the word on the ground is for possible return to NOLA, although the city and state officials are urging people to stay away. Due to the rising floods, emergency shelters are now being evacuated and the people who sought shelter there are being sent elsewhere.
Tens of thousands of people are trapped in the Superdome. The toilets have ceased working and the flood waters are starting to get in.
4-WWL New Orleans was forced to evacuate their studios because of the floods. However, they are blogging updates very rapidly. According to 4-WWL, dead bodies are floating in the flood waters, but all rescuers have been told to push the bodies aside and concentrate on saving the living.
Reading the news is bad enough, but whatever you do, do not click on the CNN videos. You will cry. Hard. The reporters who've been interviewing survivors and listening to the screams for help as the floodwaters rise are in near-tears.
insomnia is blogging updates of LJers who are trapped in NOLA as well as other updates to conditions on the ground. He's unable to keep on top of the other hard-hit areas in Mississippi and Alabama as the aftermath of damage in the Gulf States is catastrophic.
The The American Red Cross is about to undertake its largest domestic operation in history. They are going to need all the help they can get. Right now, the Red Cross needs money more than anything else. You can choose "Hurricane 2005" relief on the donations page.
My knowledge of the chaos and destruction in Alabama and Mississippi is far less, but it looks like those areas are devestated and flooding as well.
In addition, to everyone in Georgia on my FList: I hope you are okay. Katrina's northeastern quadrant sent tornadoes your way, so I hope you were spared the destruction.