Friday, August 29, 2008

Katrina: Three Years Later

Oh, Yeah - I well remember it.

On Sunday morning, August 28, 2005, the forecasts were frightening. I called my daughter in Hattiesburg -only a one hour drive from Gulfport- and begged her to come home before the storm hit. I warned her that a powerful storm like this would have a large impact on her so close to the shore. She resisted, but finally came home Sunday afternoon. 

Monday morning the storm hit just west of Gulfport. Biloxi and Gulfport got the 30 foot high storm surge on the eastern side of the storm. Many of the hotels and restaurants we have enjoyed over the years were gone forever in just a few hours. New Orleans on the west side of the storm got the heavy rain plus the winds over Lake Pontchartrain, resulting in the breaking and overflow of the levies.

Here is what I wrote to a friend in Maryland on Tuesday, August 30, 2005, the day after the storm:
We just got our power back about 3:15 after more than 24 hours without electricity.

The Jackson area got at least tropical force winds, possibly higher. Most of the area lost power. There are trees down all over our neighborhood, including one across our next door neighbors driveway. We drove through the neighborhood last evening and saw many trees down, some broken in half and some torn up by the roots. We have no damage that I can find, but still have a lot of limbs and branches to clear and dispose of. One very large branch bounced off our roof over the kitchen, but I don’t think we were damaged.

We are so thankful that Michelle took our advice and came home on Sunday. Her home in Hattiesburg is less than 100 miles from Gulfport. Hattiesburg got Category 3 hurricane force winds. The entire city is without power and has no water. There are trees down on every major street in Hattiesburg. All routes from Jackson to Hattiesburg or the coast are closed and impassible. A friend checked on her house and said there are trees on the roof but it does not look like the roof was penetrated.

You probably know more about conditions in New Orleans, Biloxi and Gulfport than I do. What a horrible mess and a great tragedy! Keep praying

I've been to New Orleans twice since Katrina. There is still a lot of damage there. The Mississippi coast communities were devastated and will never be the same. Landmarks that survived Hurricane Camille in 1969, and all the other storms for over 200 years, are gone for good.

Storms are a fact of life on the gulf coast. My brother and his family in Tampa, Florida have certainly seen their share of them. Now, according to current forecasts, Hurricane Gustaf might be heading right for the Louisiana coast. Hurrican Hanna threatens Florida. Here we go again!

Please pray for us, and for all the residents of the Gulf Coast.