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Hurricane Tears Holes in Superdome Roof


Hurricane Katrina ripped two holes in the curved roof of the Louisiana Superdome, letting in rain as thousands of storm refugees huddled inside Monday.

Superdome and government emergency officials stressed that they did not expect the huge roof to fail because of the relatively small breaches, each about 15 to 20 feet long and 4 to 5 feet wide.

…”I could have stayed at home and watched my roof blow off,” said one of the refugees, Harald Johnson, 43. “Instead, I came down here and watched the Superdome roof blow off. It’s no big deal; getting wet is not like dying.”

The dome was filled with the sound of metal rattling, which Thornton said was produced by the metal ceiling tiles. In addition to the two holes, water was leaking in through many other areas, including elevators and stairwells, as the wind forced water in through any small opening. Across Poydras Street, numerous shattered windows were visible on high-rise office buildings.

Glenn Menard, general manager of the Superdome, said that although only the two holes were visible from the interior, more damage was possible.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding