On this anniversary of one of the worst storms in a century, and the event of Tropical Storm Ernesto currently going ashore in the Florida Keys; I take a look back to August 29, 2005. The day I met Hurricane Katrina.
“It looks like Hurricane Katrina will be hitting New Orleans by Monday Morning. Due to several circumstances we are not going to be able to evacuate….”
“…..The storm’s total coverage at the moment in the Gulf of Mexico is 750 miles. Sustained winds are 175MPH. So, when Katrina reaches New Orleans, all of the Gulf Coast will feel it’s effect.
Not since, 1969 has a storm this large hit landfall on the Gulf Coast. The Storm at that time was Camille, and I remember the devastation Mississippi went through at that time. As a small boy, we lived 200 miles inland and we went through a night of terrible tornadoes due to Hurricane Camille. All of Mississippi was effected for days following landfall.
We’ve retreated inland twice in the last year due to hurricanes, but this time we are going to “ride it out.” Local news coverage is now constant, and some coastal flooding and storm surges are now affecting us as the waves move in with heights currently at 12 feet.
We have “boarded up” the house, laid in a supply of food and water, charged our batteries, taken showers and baths for maybe the last time for a few days, and now we wait……”
“…..It’s 12:47AM, about 5 hours from landfall in New Orleans.
We are getting some sporadic thunderstorms and wind from the early “leader bands” from the storm.
Hurricane Katrina is currently a high Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds at of 160MPH.
We’ll see what happens as the night wears on…….”
“…..Downtown Mobile has 8-10 feet of water standing in the streets and flooding some buildings. The storm surge was estimated at 22 feet.
Luckily our power is restored temporarily. I hear the sounds of generators in the distance.
I’m going offline again as the electrical power continues to flicker…….”
“….If you are following the news coverage of Hurricane Katrina and you have never been in a hurricane before, then you might be thinking that since the “eye” of Katrina is now in Central Mississippi, we folks down on the coast are “in The clear”.
In the last several hours we have been experiencing the “back” of the storm.
Local news has been reporting that there are still 50-75MPH wind gusts and we get bands of torrential rain still…..”
“A few facts.
At 2:00PM CST winds were still being clocked at Category 1 speeds.
196,000 people are without power in the State of Alabama. We are among the lucky few that have power. A good deal of the town I live in outside of Mobile is still without power.
5319 people are in shelters. Shelter population is expected to rise as people with damaged residences seek a place to stay.
A drilling rig broke free and collided with a bridge in Mobile.
All of Mobile and Baldwin Counties are under a curfew until Dawn Tuesday.
From New Orleans, there are reports of people stranded on their roofs. There have been unconfirmed reports of bodies floating…..”
“….Tree limbs continue to fall, and we have had a few hit our roof with no damage.(Thankfully) But, we have been startled several times by the loud boom the branches make as they hit the roof.
An interesting observation I made about the wind; occasionally rather than a wind exerting a side force on the trees, we also get incredible downdrafts, that bend the limbs of the trees downward toward the ground on all sides. I had never seen that before.
Last report I saw, we have had 13+ inches of rain since last night and more still on the way.
I feel sorry for the folks in New Orleans and Mississippi and know full well they bore the brunt of Katrina’s force. I also know that all of the State of Mississippi will endure the force of Katrina on into the night.
But even as the eye of the storm marches northward, we on the coast are not out of the woods yet.
One last personal note, I’m out of cigarettes, and since businesses are closed or without power and the existing curfew; I have no way to get anymore “smokes” until tomorrow. It’s gonna be another long night.
All in all, that’s a problem I can live with.”
“Good Night Katrina
Last Post of the Day
Katrina, you had a pretty name, but you were an ugly storm.
I’m glad you are gone from here, and hope you die out as you drive north. By next week you should be a light rain past Pennsylvania.
Tomorrow will be a day of clean-up.
My daughter and her husband and a roommate of theirs will be staying the night with us. They are still without power and rode the storm out at a local shelter, unbeknownst to us.
Special Thanks to all who commented, emailed, and Instant Messaged me while I was online off and on throughout the day with their well wishes for our safety.
Thanks to all the regular readers of Will Wheaton Dot Net that paid me a visit. It was much appreciated.
“Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down”, is the old song; well today was a rainy Monday; but knowing people think about you in times of trouble, even if they don’t know you in person, can more than make up for it.
You can relive the entire day with me in My August Archives; scroll down to Monday, August 29th. Many people left me me kind words in the “Comments” section.
My thoughts are with those enduring Tropical Storm Ernesto tonight and tomorrow and days to come. Although not a hurricane now, weather systems can be unpredictable, and I hope all will remain safe.
There’s a sentiment here on the Gulf Coast that some who have not experienced a hurricane might not understand or find cruel. But, it’s an accepted sentiment:
“I’ll be thinking of you, but I’m glad it’s not me this time”