A few weeks ago, I found myself wanting to dig up the NOAA warning from 5 years ago today. I still recall how much it scared me & how unfortunately right those fears turned out to be. I remember being up late in the night of the 28th — maybe ’til 3 AM on this night five years ago, until I forced myself to leave the TV, watching CNN and waiting for Katrina to make landfall. I copied out the weather service warning, and apparently I wrote extra notes, remembering another time.
Thirteen years ago last week: we left Baton Rouge for New Orleans during Hurricane Andrew. Going 50 minutes southeast was supposed to help and Dad, having been recently diagnosed with his brain tumor, had the rights and coverage for us to stay in the hotel adjoining the hospital where he had his radiation treatments. I remember we came back once Andrew passed, but we came back to a beat up city, power lines down, roofs gone, electricity out, & school canceled. Forty trees lost in our backyard! Electricity out for at least a week. Miserable in August–my long hair wasn’t dry for days. It was that muggy. I remember losing it with the Entergy repairmen, yelling at them for taking so long, letting us go without relief. We seemed to be the last in the city to get power restored. I wonder what they must have thought of this crazed 16 year old girl on a rampage. (In my defense, my Dad was dying.) A part of me is mortified, a part of me laughs.
I remember that rage at feeling like we were forgotten.
What if this storm kills Louisiana?
I can’t fall asleep while I go relive this childhood anxiety I had that preceded all hurricanes that came into the gulf. Evacuating was never a thing we needed to do. Wouldn’t it feel silly if the storm turned? Wouldn’t it be a waste? I remember the waiting, the watching, and waiting some more for the power to go out, the power going out on its own schedule regardless of wind, the power coming back on either early or late into the wait. You never could tell. Passing time talking to neighbors. Getting the radios ready, flashlights placed all over. Candles. Watching the sky, watching those low, strong clouds roll in. The Prejeans next door drinking through the storm. Hurricane parties were a thing. Are they a thing right now?
I called my mom earlier though I haven’t seen anything ominous about East BR Parish.
What to do. What to do. I can’t get over the “WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.”
URGENT – WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005
…DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED…
.HURRICANE KATRINA…A MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE WITH UNPRECEDENTED STRENGTH…RIVALING THE INTENSITY OF HURRICANE CAMILLE OF 1969.
MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS…PERHAPS LONGER. AT LEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL…LEAVING THOSE HOMES SEVERELY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED.
THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL. PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE…INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.
HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY…A FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT.
AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD…AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION.
POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS…AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.
THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING…BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEW CROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE KILLED.
AN INLAND HURRICANE WIND WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN SUSTAINED WINDS NEAR HURRICANE FORCE…OR FREQUENT GUSTS AT OR ABOVE HURRICANE FORCE…ARE CERTAIN WITHIN THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS.
ONCE TROPICAL STORM AND HURRICANE FORCE WINDS ONSET…DO NOT VENTURE OUTSIDE!
Camille crushed the area 40 years ago. Will Katrina be the same?
Images in the editorial feed are not alleviating these fears.