Katrina weakens slightly, New Orleans still screwed.
The storm has slowed down and is still moving NNW at 9 knots. It is tracking just to the west of New Orleans proper and this is a bad thing. Latest observations show the storm at 160mph and 904mb which is interesting. The drop in winds is not surprising and in fact the earlier 175mph numbers may have been incorrect. These numbers were based on flight level winds from Hurricane Hunter aircraft and looking back at the data the National Hurricane Center has revised the windspeeds lower. This is not to say that the storm is not strong. IT IS. A sustained pressure of 904mb is incredibly impressive and significantly stronger than Andrew and really any other hurricane we have ever seen in our lifetimes.
Apparently a eyewall replacement cycle is happening which could cause weakening within the storm, but will result in a widening wind field which really is a wash. Winds may be slightly decreased near the eyewall but it really does not matter since the winds are SO strong.