Hurricane Katrina

This is just wild. I hope that no one gets hurt.

Hurricane Peels Holes in Superdome Roof

By MARY FOSTER, Associated Press Writer
37 minutes ago

NEW ORLEANS – Hurricane Katrina ripped away part of the roof on the Louisiana Superdome as thousands of storm refugees huddled inside Monday.

Strips of metal were peeled away, creating two holes that were visible from the floor of the huge arena. Water dripped in and people were moved away from about five sections of seats directly below.

Others watched as sheets of metal flapped visibly and noisily. From the floor, more than 19 stories below the dome, the openings appeared to be 6 feet long.

“The superdome is not in any dangerous situation,” Gov. Kathleen Blanco said.

General Manager Glenn Menard said he did not know how serious the problem was. “We have no way of getting anyone up there to look,” he said.

Aside from the tear in the huge roof, the 77,000-seat steel-framework stadium, home of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, provided few comforts but at least had bathrooms and food donated by charities.

The wind that howled around the dome during the night was not heard in the interior of the building where the refugees were kept.

“Everybody slept last night. They didn’t seem to have any problems,” said Dr. Kevin Stephens Sr., in charge of the medical shelter in the Superdome. “They slept all over the place.”

Power failed in the Superdome around 5 a.m. Monday, triggering groans from the crowd. Emergency generators kicked in, but the backup power runs only reduced lighting, not the air conditioning.

The Superdome opened its doors at noon Sunday, and New Orleans’ most frail residents got priority. The stadium is by far the most solid of the Big Easy’s 10 refuges for the estimated 100,000 city residents who don’t have the means, or strength, to join a mandatory evacuation.”

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