As dawn broke over the ravaged Gulf Coast this morning, rescuers in boats and helicopters furiously searched for survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
Mississippi governor Haley Barbour says the death toll in just one Mississippi county could be as high as 80.
Barbour says there were unconfirmed reports of up to 80 fatalities in Harrison County, which contains Gulfport and Biloxi, and the number was likely to rise.
In New Orleans, residents who had ridden out the brunt of Katrina now face a second more insidious threat as two different levee breaches send a churning sea of water from Lake Pontchartrain coursing through city streets.
Colonel Rich Wagenaar of the Army Corps of Engineers, says a breach in the eastern part of the city was causing flooding and "significant evacuations" in Orleans and St. Bernard parishes. He did not know how many people were affected by the flooding.
Authorities say there is also a levee breach in the western part of the city. Jason Binet, of the Army Corps of Engineers, says that breach began yesterday afternoon and may have grown overnight.
Across the Gulf Coast, people were rescued as they clung to rooftops, hundreds of trees were uprooted and sailboats were flung about like toys when Katrina crashed ashore yesterday in what could become the most expensive storm in U-S history.
Katrina knocked out power to more than a (m) million people from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, and authorities say it could be two months before electricity is restored to everyone.