August 29, 2005 in the morning hours, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast. It registered as a Category 3 storm, winds were 100-140 miles per hour and stretched over 400 miles. It was a monster. My family was blessed to have little to no damage. Mobile was not a direct hit, yet communities in the neighboring counties were devastated. Even though we escaped the worst of the storm, we were without power for a week. Thankfully we had clean water, many were not as blessed.
I remember sitting at my living room window and watching the rain and wind blow. In previous years we had evacuated for several hurricanes and decided early that we would stay home for this one. Based on the information Katrina wasn’t going to be a direct hit for Mobile, and it wasn’t. We had a supply of food, water, and batteries. The windows were taped or boarded in most rooms. Tree limbs were trimmed and everything that wasn’t tied down, literally, was moved indoors. I watched the morning it came on land as Katrina knocked out the power and a tree in our yard. Thankfully it fell on the street and not our house. That was the extent of our damage. We spent days picking up debris, but that was it. We were blessed.
My husband had an old battery operated TV, that had an antenna to pick up local stations. We watched a few spotty reports and saw the devastation that followed Katrina in New Orleans. A natural disaster made worse by man made tragedy. The levees didn’t hold. Katrina was worse than Camille. I’m too young to have lived through Camile, but I grew up hearing about the horror. I remember driving the short distance to check on my in laws and telling them what we saw on the news. They just nodded their heads and said, “No, it can’t be worse than Camile.” When the power returned we witnessed just how horrible it really was. That’s the thing about hurricanes. The memory builds in your mind and becomes, like a person.
I won’t go into a play by play of the storm, news agencies are doing that on their own. Nor will I assign blame to groups or agencies about the handling of the aftermath. It’s easy to see what should have been done after the event. I pray that lessons have been learned so that we don’t have a repeat performance. Because honestly, there will be another monster storm. Before Katrina there was Camile. Camile was the hurricane that all other hurricanes were measured by. Now that, I won’t call it an honor, goes to Katrina. New Orleans was a tragedy I pray is never repeated. One lesson I hope everyone learned was, do not depend on government agencies to protect you. You must prepare before the storm hits. Click here for some pictures from NOAA. LiveScience has a great article on the hurricane itself.
image from NOAA
(I think the image is for use! I’m sure they will let me know if it’s not.)
New Orleans is about 2 hours from Mobile, roughly 144 miles. The damage, flooding and problems caused by Katrina wasn’t limited to just New Orleans. It was a regional catastrophe. Katrina made landfall on the Mississippi/Louisiana coast. A little town called Waveland, Mississippi was hit very hard. Here are two very good articles.click. click.
Closer to my home is a small fishing area called Bayou La Batre. This area survives on commercial fishing. Katrina tossed the boats around like toys. Click. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page you will see photos of Mobile under flood waters. Why Waveland? Why Bayou La Batre? Because Katrina wiped out dozens, if not hundreds, of tiny little towns along the coast. Not just New Orleans. As you watch the film footage and the reporters talking about Katrina. Don’t forget there was an entire coastline affected. Millions in over three states lost family members, friends, houses, jobs, and businesses because of Katrina. It has taken years for all of these areas to recover, some are still trying to recover, and others never will.
We are still in the midst of hurricane season and the last few years have been very quiet. There are a few storms in the Atlantic, but they aren’t a threat… yet. It’s this calm that gets you. You forget how devastating a hurricane can be.
Prepare before the storm hits,