The Gulf of Mexico is hot; hot enough to to turn H urricane Katrina from a Catagory 1 to Catagory 5 in three days, just in time to wipe southern Louisiana off the map (although it was downgraded to a Catagory 4 just prior to landfall, understandable as hurricanes feed on water and Hurricane Katrina's northern edge is getting starved of fuel).
But you know, if this had happened in the 1920s? Nobody would have had a clue that this was on the way—there would have been no satellite tracking, no way of predicting which way the big wind would have shifted, and precious few ways of getting the word out ahead of the storm even if they had known. If Katrina turns out even half as bad as people say, it would have erupted out of nowhere to lay the smackdown with no warning whatsoever. A lot of people probably would have died.
My thoughts go out to those stuck in Louisiana and I hope that the death toll (last reported: three, but those happened during evacuation) does not rise at all. We do live in an incredible age where we are able to get significant warnings and save lives that might have otherwise been lost.
When all of this is over, the religious leaders will be calling everyone to thank God that everything is okay. No mention of the well-trained scientists and disaster experts who worked so tirelessly.