It is feared Hurricane Katrina has killed at least 50 people in the southern state of Mississippi as it sweeps through the US Gulf Coast.
The city of New Orleans took a powerful blow but was spared the worst when the storm turned east at the last moment.
Louisiana governor Katherine Blanco had this message:
“The hurricane is by no means over. We’re hearing reports of major wind and water damage as it moves northward. Wherever you live, it is still too dangerous to come home,” she said.
The storm has left the streets of the historic French quarter in New Orleans littered with debris, and ripped off part of the Superdome stadium where thousands of people had sought refuge. The death toll is expected to rise as emergency officials have not been able to reach many of the hardest-hit areas.
Reduced from Category Four to Category One, Katarina has wound down to a tropical storm.
But forecasters warn it will keep dumping water and spreading strong winds on the Gulf Coast before moving further into the U.S. It is expected to move over central Kentucky and Tennessee today.
Katrina first churned ashore in south Florida on Thursday killing seven people and causing widespread flooding.