Mobile, Ala. braces for storm surge

What a difference a day makes in Alabama: From wait-and-see Saturday, to duck-and-cover today, Hurricane Katrina now has the undivided attention of Alabamans along the Gulf Coast.

As Katrina moves in, people in Mobile are taking notice that while they may escape much of the storm’s fury, they’ll still feel her punch.

They’re bracing for Category 1 winds when Katrina arrives — around 75 to 80 miles an hour. But the real worry is the potential storm surge. Officials say the surge could reach 15 to 20 feet, potentially flooding downtown Mobile for several square miles.

The clamor to flee grew louder Sunday, with emergency management agencies and the mayor warning residents of the impact.

“There’s going to be an impact in Mobile County— a possible Category 4 to 5 surge,” says Walt Dickerson Mobile County Emergency Management Agency

“This is a very large circumstance. It’s a very serious issue,” says Mayor Mike Dow.

Water is already splashing and rising on Dauhphin Island.

Residents there prepare to get out, uncertain of the future and worried the island itself might be history. “We been down here for over 35 years and I just don’t think we’re gonna have an island,” says one Dauphin resident.

One emergency official says the area could be in line for an even bigger blow if the unpredictable storm turns from its current track toward the east.