On The Early Show Tuesday, meteorologist Bryan Norcross of WFOR-TV told co-anchor Julie Chen that Katrina is a very different kind of hurricane than Camille, which hit in August 1969, or Andrew, which blew though in August 1992.
"Katrina was not as strong a hurricane," Norcross said. "It had been, back in the Gulf (of Mexico), but not when it hit. The winds in New Orleans were only about 100 miles an hour, and at the worst on the Gulf coast, perhaps 135. In Camille, maybe 175 … and Andrew, 165-mile-per-hour winds. So the level of wind damage in this storm is nothing like those two storms.
"But the area of damage is much larger because this was a huge hurricane with tremendous flooding in New Orleans and, we haven't heard much about it, but tremendous flooding in Mobile, Ala., 175 miles away."
In terms of damage, Norcross says Katrina is going to be comparable to Hurricane Andrew because it's covering such a wide area — and it's not done yet.
"We may still get flooding up further north, in the middle of the country, maybe even into the Northeast, and tornadoes and everything else," he said. "We have so much more infrastructure today. Just think: When Camille hit, there were no casinos in Biloxi and Gulfport, and all those expensive buildings. It was a much smaller place back then. There's so much more to damage now. I expect damage in that $20 billion to $30 billion range, which is up in the Andrew territory, which was the most expensive ever."