In the United States, Hurricane Ophelia is continuing to batter coastal North Carolina with heavy rains and gusting winds.
The slow-moving assault is expected to last for two days and trigger dangerous flooding. Ophelia is the first hurricane to hit the country since Katrina killed hundreds of people and displaced a million others in the U.S. Gulf Coast two weeks ago. Although Katrina was much more powerful, authorities gripped by fear have left little to chance. Schools, seaports and businesses have been shut and thousands of people have gone into shelters. Ophelia had top sustained winds of 136 kph and forecasters say it could strengthen slightly. It is currently creeping up the eastern coast at around 11 kph so it is unlikely to cause structural damage. But Ophelia’s slow pace means coastal buildings will have to endure strong winds for a day or more.