It's that time of the year again....the time everyone on the Gulf Coast and East Coast dreads.....Hurricane Season. So far it has been quiet. Mother Nature has just started to shake things up though. Bill is churning up and growing stronger by the minute. I always hated hurricanes, but when you own a house....hurricanes take on a new meaning. If a hurricane is projected to hit us, or near us, it is chaos. I have to remove EVERYTHING in my yard...yard art, things on the fence, outdoor furniture, flags, etc....and it is a lot of stuff. Not to mention all the safety preparations that must be made, buying water, batteries, candles, etc. NOAA will be the most visited website by coastal folks, for the next few months. They are pretty accurate on their predictions. It appears that we along the Gulf Coast have nothing to fear right now....but I know how the Gulf of Mexico acts like a magnet to hurricanes. It will suck one up in to its jaws in a heart beat. It has done it 100's of times. Once the hurricane gets on the Eastern side of Florida, then I will breathe a sigh of relief. But I dread it for the people that it will affect. Hurricanes are a force to be reckoned with. They do so much more damage than you can imagine. Wind, water, tornadoes....people along the coast are most likely affected by water & wind. People living further inland will always get numerous tornadoes that will spin off of the hurricanes. The damage can cover several states.
I have been through so many hurricanes....here along the Gulf Coast we tend not to worry about a hurricane unless it is a category 3 or 4. Category 1 & 2 are much to worry with....compared to a 3 or 4 that is. If you aren't familiar with the categories, here they are:
Category One: Sustained Winds 74-95 mph (64-82 kt or 119-153 km/hr)
Category Two: Sustained winds 96-110 mph (83-95 kt or 154-177 km/hr)
Category Three: Sustained winds 111-130 mph (96-113 kt or 178-209 km/hr)
Category Four: Sustained winds 131-155 mph (114-135 kt or 210-249 km/hr)
Category Five: Sustained winds greater than 155 mph (135 kt or 249 km/hr)
Some examples of Hurricanes by Category:
Category One: Gaston, Cindy
Category Two: Isabelle, Erin
Category Three: Ivan, Katrina, Frederick
Category Four: Hazel, Charley
Category Five: Camille (1969), Ivan (1992)
You never, EVER want to be on the EAST side of the hurricane....the is the worst side of the hurricane. The west side is the weaker. The east side always receives the worst damage. Example: Katrina made landfall @ 140mph (cat 4) in Buras, Louisiana. Gulfport, Biloxi, Bay St. Louis Mississippi received the worst of the Katrina.
I think everyone in the entire world believes that New Orleans received the worst damage, I saw otherwise. New Orleans flooded due to the levee's breaking......The Mississippi Gulf Coast got the bejeezus whipped out of them. Katrina up-rooted ENTIRE casinos and threw them 100's of feet away. (You can click here to see photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/scriptingnews/sets/1588659/)
You should definitely Google pictures after Hurricanes Katrina, Ivan or Camille. Camille was a Category FIVE!
I had just finished a casino in Biloxi, and they were planning their grand opening when Katrina hit. Needless to say....they never opening. Katrina gutted it and blew parts and pieces all over Biloxi. One of my co-workers lived about a mile from the beach in Biloxi. She stayed home during Katrina (which was brave). She filmed everything. They live in a 3 story house, and the water came up to 10 feet in their house. Their cars were floating outside. After the storm, she got in her car and drove around the town (where she could), and she filmed. It was utter devastion. There was NOTHING left. Casinos, and all...were blown across roads, or just gone period. It looked like armageddon, very hard to watch. Still to this day....four years later....the Mississippi Gulf Coast is FAR from being normal again. So many buildings still destroyed. They eery part is, is the "calm after the storm". It is the quietest, calmest, still moment....after all that devastation. It is usaually a matter of 3-5 hours after the initial hit that the "calm" comes.
As for me and Katrina...well we had our run in also. The Hunter and I were getting married September 2, 2005, and we were flying to Hawaii on August 25th. Katrina decided to make landfall August 23rd. (Even though she made landfall in Louisiana, we are still greatly affected by it. If a storm hits anywhere from Destin, FL to the Texas stateline....Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana get major, major damage as well...even if it doesn't make landfall in those states. ) We didn't get to leave for Hawaii as planned. We didn't fly out until August 27th. It was a disaster! No one in Mobile had power. The entire city was shut down. I had no way of getting in touch with our travel agency, so I had to handle things myself.Katrina Making landfall, you can see the area that she covers is very large.
We eventually made it to Hawaii, only to see all of the damage on tv. I couldn't' watch it. I was there to get married and enjoy myself, and watching all of the damage...I couldn't enjoy myself. Our friends and family didn't have power for a week or so. Gas is EXTREMELY difficult to get. If a hurricane comes into the Gulf of Mexico, it destroys the oil rigs. If a hurricane is 4 days out, you will see 100's of people at gas station filling cars, cans, and whatever they can. Because after a hurricane it may be days or weeks before you can get gas again. I remember calling my Aunt, and she said "Well I hope you are having fun in paradise, because we are all stuck in Hell". No air, no power.....nothing!
So the point of all of this is....hurricanes are scary. Each one is different, and you never know what it will do. They do more damage that imaginable. So I am crossing my fingers for all of us along the Gulf Coast and East Coast that we don't get ANY major hurricanes this year.