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US Gulf Coast Braces for Hurricane Katrina

The U.S. Gulf Coast is bracing for Hurricane Katrina as it strengthens after pummeling southeastern Florida with strong winds and sheets of rain.

At least seven people have been killed in the storm, which came ashore Thursday, dumping several centimeters of rain in its path and triggering widespread flooding.

Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses lost power and an overpass under construction in the Miami area collapsed onto a main east-west highway.

Katrina was briefly downgraded to a tropical storm as it crossed land, but it has turned into a stronger hurricane while moving over the warm Gulf waters.

At last report, the 11th named storm of this year's Atlantic hurricane season was 97 kilometers west-northwest of Key West. Katrina was moving slowly in a west-northwesterly direction at 13 kilometers per hour.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.