I did not live in Louisiana during Katrina. I live in SW Ohio. In fact, the closest I ever came to a hurricane was dry hurricane Ike. It ran through Indiana and Ohio knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people. It was a weird phenomenon that brought hurricane strength winds with no rain. It was not forecast and redeveloped unexpectedly.
Katrina did however cause my family to relocate to SE Louisiana. We were inspired by Liz McCartney and the things she was doing for the St. Bernard Project. Stuck in a career rut and feeling like we weren’t doing anything to give back to the world, my family moved to help with the rebuilding effort. I taught in New Orleans when they were desperate for teachers and have since moved to the river parishes. It was the best decision I have made in my life. SE Louisiana is now home.
I have always been a weather enthusiast. There was a similar weather board in Cincinnati that was run by Rich Apuzzo. John Gumm worked as an intern for Rich. While hurricanes were discussed, it was more about tracking winter storms and severe weather.
It is a little crazy the connections between SW Ohio and SE Louisiana as far as meteorologists. Bob Breck actually worked as a meteorologist in SW Ohio. John Gumm is now in SW Ohio.
Last Edit: Aug 25, 2020 21:55:06 GMT -6 by lilspud
One thing I remember in the immediate aftermath of Katrina was watching coverage of CNN. Immediately after Katrina passed, reporter Jean Meserve proclaimed, "Well, it looks we we've escaped the Armeggedon scenario that people talked about."
Then the levees broke.
She went out in a boat at night, and reported from the boat. She was talking to anchor Miles O'Brien and just suddenly broke down crying. "Remember what I said about the Armeggedon scenario? Forget what I said, you're looking at it. People yelling for help, dogs howling because they are being electrocuted by electric wires, and we can't help anyone because it's dark and we don't know where the obstacles are. I know people think we are just a bunch of sick thrillseekers as reporters but when you see all this unbelievable suffering before your eyes, it affects you very deeply." The thing I appreciate most about her reporting was that it communicated to people around the nation the horror, the desperation, the depression, the hopelessness. I think it may have actually helped garner more support from people around the nation.
"My name is Jim, but my friends call me...............Jim."
so, true story. I have been a weather nerd since I was about 12. Loves studying hurricanes and just watching. I was that kid who would watch the weather channel( when it first aired) . I stumbled upon the WWL weather forums when I was in my 20's. Literally changed my life. I remember a young boy on those forums, Zack Fredella, who was crazy knowledgable about hurricanes and severe weather. Fast forward to August 2005. I had just returned from denver and moved back to NOLA in June. It was my first venture from home, as I was in the mdd to be sick of New Orleans' shit and ready for something different. Got to Denver and in 6 months ( and 1 snow storm) decided that I was sick of Denver's shit and came back h9ome, intending to never leave again. It was Thursday, August 25th and I was sitting in my grandmothrs kitchen, watching the weather. Bob Breck had just alerted everyone that This storm was going to Florida, it wasnt our issue. As was customary, I logged into the storm boards and read othrwise, " The trough may not be strong enough.... watch it!!" At that moment, I made 6 reservations for hotels. 2 for my elderly aunts in Baton Rouge, 2 in Lafayette and 2 in Houston for my elderly Grandparents. Friday dawned and the models started shifting and I went to work Saturday came and the bullseye was on NOLA, yet duty called and I went to work again. I worked at Sprint(at the time) as a floor manager and I watched the boards all day,in between customers. The air started to sizzle when I checked the boards and noticed the happenings. I actually was instrumental in getting the store to close early due to what was said in the forums. We closed at 2:30pm. Here is where it gets interesting. There was one last customer, a man who sat at my desk right before we closed. He and started talking about the storm and he told me that he was goign to ride it out. "Oh no!!!.. you have to leave" His elderly mother lived with him and he wasn't relishing the idea of contraflow, etc with her. I showed him the board, told him about John Gumm, Zack, and othrs and asked him to think about it. He assured me he would. I locked the doors behind him, left, got on the road and traveled 6 hours to Baton Rouge in bumper to bumper traffic to stop and get on the road to Lake Charles again. Yall know the story of what happened next. My home had 5 feet of water, relatives had 7 or 9. 3 weeks later, I got a call from my old manager in Denver asking if I needed to come back and recognizing that this was going to be a long term thing back to the mile high city I went. Denver was an amazing place to try to re-coup some sanity and some sleep and Sprint and the Denver team was a godsend. Imagine my surprise when, weeks later a man approached me at the Aurora store. " Do you remember me??" I am horrible with faces and worse with names. " I was the last person that sat at your desk in New Orleans at teh Sprint store!!" Wow!! His next words to me " You saved my life and the life of my mother too. I left based on what you said and since my mothers house was in the lower 9, I am sure that we would have died that day. Because of you, I left and took my mother with me and because of you, we are here today." So, to all who post things in the midst of danger, to the pro mets, the amateurs, the hobbists, the loyal, I thank you. You saved my sanity, and that man and his mothers lives. Since I am an educator, I often show this board to my students, as a way to prove that, no matter your age, find your passion and stick with it. I tell them the story of the teenage boy who participated in a forum and saved lives and then started a forum where like minded folks gather. And then I pull up video fo Zack on channel 8 and say "And this is that teenage boy today" Its like Im a proud aunt or something. Again, there aren't enough Thank yous to go around. Yall are a blessing.
Post by nolasheepdog on Aug 29, 2020 20:16:26 GMT -6
I like listening/reading to evacuation stories because, as a local first responder, I never evacuated. But here’s my happy evacuation story. In 2005, my daughter was in high school. She had plans to be a writer in her future and was already typing stories on her desktop computer. She had stacks of floppy disks that she used to store her files. Around that time, I had learned about a newer technology that was available called USB flash drives. Since her birthday is in September, I had purchased a flash drive as a birthday present. When the family decided they would evacuate (again without me), I decided to give my daughter her birthday present early. She copied the entire contents of her desktop drive onto the flash drive before they evacuated. Our home flooded to the gutters on the roof, so her desktop was history, but not her files. It’s amazing how technology has changed for the better, including weather forecasting.
My older sister had moved to Houston the month before K hit. And thank goodness, or we wouldn't have had anywhere to evacuate to.
“The National Weather Service has issued a hurricane warning from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Alabama-Florida state line, including metropolitan New Orleans,” so screamed the television set in my bedroom. “That means hurricane conditions are likely in the warning area within twenty-four hours.”
Those were the first words I heard on Sunday, August 28. Around my neighborhood, it was a pretty typical Sunday. It didn't look like a day with a hurricane warning attached to it. I could swear I had never seen a more gorgeous sunrise in the summertime. I remember the clear, cloudless sky and the breeze swaying through the trees. People had gone to church. They were sitting on their porches in wicker chairs, talking on their cell phones. They were walking up and down the street. Nobody had any clue what would happen.
I then turned on my television, and my eyes were drawn to the satellite image on the screen. Hurricane "K" was even more perfectly donut-shaped and round. In weather speak, she was annular. I had to hold my breath. I was incredulous by how much she’d blossomed even overnight. She was a storm in full flight, spinning around in the water. I couldn’t believe how beautiful she was. But I couldn’t enjoy the view. I had to run away and hide from her.
Frantic, I dialed my sister in Houston again. “We’ve got to get out of here,” I told her.
“What?” she asked drowsily. I could hear her chomping on her Cheerios through the receiver. "I just got up."
“K’s a Category Five hurricane, with 160 mile-an-hour winds," I announced to her. "They just issued a hurricane warning, and it's headed straight for us. This storm's much too powerful. I’m not staying here.”
“I’m tired of hearing about this. You’re panicking,” she said. “This won’t be as bad as you think it will be. I’m getting ready to go to work.”
“Listen to me, this is serious!” I shouted in the receiver. “It's going to be as bad as I think it's going to be. This storm’s coming.” After resigning herself to admit that there's a possibility that I might be right, she then went on to give me the directions to the apartment she had moved to, in Houston. It was a straight shoot, off Interstate 10. A blind man could find it.
I had difficulty sleeping the night before, and even more difficulty eating breakfast that morning. Within twenty-four hours, the table at which I sat could be submerged. The roof, which already seemed to be held on by rubber bands and Scotch tape, could be blown off. Everything I had could be gone.
I looked again at the satellite image, and I couldn’t believe what I saw. K was a buzz-saw, bullying her way through the Gulf of Mexico. Thoughts of what could await me when I returned consumed my mind. I had never been more afraid in my entire life.
As the morning wore on, more sobering news arrived: We no longer had a choice. We had to go.
How would you like to have an hour to pack your whole life in a few loosely put-together suitcases? How would you like to have to decide what to take and what to leave behind? How would you like to have to go somewhere, anywhere, and not know where you're going, when you'll return, or whether you'll have a place to return to? We threw together a loose amalgam of birth certificates, Bibles, and a few changes of clothing. I added several computer disks and my laptop computer. I also packed my mother's medicines. I tried to be brave, but I was scared out of my wits.
Our neighbors at the time were completely clueless. They had NO IDEA there was a hurricane in the gulf, they were going about their lives as if everything was completely normal. So I knocked on doors and told them.
We left about an hour or so later, driving west on the interstate towards Houston. My mother cried. And so did I.
Last Edit: Aug 29, 2020 20:42:59 GMT -6 by sjbpgal
K was the first hurricane that we ever evacuated for, before or since. We planned on staying and were well prepared, including a whole home generator when we lived Uptown. I fell asleep on the sofa Saturday night with the TV on, and woke up Sunday to a 175 mph cat 5. N5RTF (hub) still wanted to stay, but I put my foot down HARD! We spent Sunday racing around, securing the house and the yard, as best as we could, gathering up pets, packing a few things, etc. We pulled out of our driveway at 5:30 pm, in both cars, with an elderly dog, 2 very unhappy cats, 2 tortoises, and headed for my parents' house in Jackson, MS. By that time, contraflow had ended. We saw a United Cab, an NOPD cruiser, a couple of JPSO vehicles, and a LSPD, and that was it! We didn't see any other cars until we were close to the LA-MS line, and then it was near gridlock until Jackson.
K was still a low cat 1 passing through Jackson, so even though my parents had a whole home generator, CATV was out. My Dad was always an avid hunter and fisherman, having fished out of Hopedale for many years. N5RTF brought a nice radio setup with us so we could listen to WWL. In order to rig up an antenna, he convinced my Dad to cast a weighted line over the roof of the house and into a tree in the back yard, attached wire and pulled it over in graduated gauges to set it up in the tree. My Dad was laughing so hard because all his life had tried to avoid trees, and now son-in-law was asking him to deliberately cast over the roof and into a tree! 🤣 He passed away in 2011, but he and hub had so much fun with "the great antenna project", that it's my only fond memory of the entire K nightmare.
Post by grisairgasm on Aug 29, 2020 23:23:33 GMT -6
And now mine. At the time I was employed in transplant surgery at Ochsner main campus. My wife was an ER nurse at EJ hospital and would be the second team to come back in after a week or so. She left at around 4pm Sunday to cross the Causeway and go to her mother’s house slightly N of Covington. Her mother had left. We have no children so of course she got stuck with four cats in a carrier and two birds. I told her it would be days before we talked again. I distinctly remember her rolling her eyes like “yeah, I’ll be back tomorrow evening”. Wrong. There is a now historic picture of her and the animals in the car on the Causeway taken Sunday evening by the NOLA newspaper at the time. I refuse to look at it today. After she left I continued to put plywood up on the house until the first major squall came through around 5pm. 1950’s stucco and drilling is not for somebody alone in 35 mph winds. I have a close smart athletic friend in great shape who worked with me and lived in my hood. We had prepositioned my truck, and bikes in the third floor of a concrete parking garage with survival supplies. I was expected to be at the hospital for 7pm and I was Sunday night. Our plan was for a few of us to bike out after a few days into St Charles parish via the levee path after relieved from the first response team. I had been up for 30hrs at this point and made a bed with my camp mattress in our surgical office around 1am. Hardly slept and at 6am I began to hear a roar in the emergency stairwell about 50 feet away.. I managed a cell call to my wife in Covington around 6:15am and that was it. Didn’t even know if and where she had gone until Friday. The storm itself was actually uneventful. We had a huge loading dock outside that was totally perpendicular to the wind. Please don’t argue with me....the winds there were only sustained between 60 and 70 mph. My Davis weather station 1.5 miles away recorded a maximum of 64mph. A ton of dry air became entrained as K approached particularly on the W side and it was very obvious looking at how much light was coming through the eyewall. Water had poured through an adjacent building known as the Brent House which is a hospital hotel and office space for many including us. Water poured through the ceilings and the smell after 2 days with no AC was horrible and not habitable. I remember Sunday evening coming into the hospital for the last time before lockdown. There was a physician who I saw regularly with his wife and a huge manicured poodle. They were both eloquently dressed including a bow tie. I saw them 3 days later and both had cut the sleeves and their pants.Same clothes. They looked like castaways. Their home was destroyed .I’ll have that memory forever. In retrospect, the hospital and ER were actually quiet for days. I heard they actually did some work on a dog having some issue. Awesome! Three of us left on bikes around noon to check our houses. The wind was still 30 -40 mph and a tough ride into it. We parted ways as each of us peeled off to our neighborhoods. I could hear my natural gas generator running as I got close which was great. I proceeded to the backyard where my neighbors pecan tree shed a huge branch that crushed part of my fence and garage roof. Then the freaky...I saw a momma and baby squirrel apparently killed after the branch slammed them onto the ground. Then there was a dove on the roof with an obvious broken wing. You just can’t make this stuff up. Even worse, the wind was coming out of the WSW and I had smoke pouring into my backyard in 30 mph winds. I jumped back on the bike and went two streets over. 2 houses were on fire and the fireman just standing there. I asked them why they were not actively fighting the fires and they just looked at me. There was no more water or water pressure. They burned to the ground but did not spread with the rain saturation. I did fine. I commuted back and forth to work on my bicycle in which was now resembling a third world disaster. I always told people relative to a hurricane disaster: the first day they will hunker down, the second day they will say what happened, and the third day they will be desperate for dry land,water and food. Exactly what happened on the levee path and Jefferson Hwy as they fled the flooded city and no infrastructure. I was terrified at night that I would be “targeted “ because I had the only light and emergency water system around. Not the case at all. These people street walking were simply exhausted. I was so scared by myself that I shut the generator down from dark to daylight every night. On Wednesday I was the only person there in my immediate neighborhood. it was dry and I pulled a line of tools out of my damaged garage in order to do some cleanup for my absent neighbors. My house was directly inline for the disaster helicopter relief traffic pattern. All day and all night. On that Wednesday I heard a persistent helicopter and finally looked up about 300 feet from me. There was a big Blackhawk helicopter with a machine gun hovering looking a t me and my tools. I pointed to the ground moving my arms up and down indicating this was mine. They looked for a few more seconds then left. End of that neighborhood love for now. Found my wife in Lafayette with some friends on Friday. Decided to take Hwy 90 there to reunite with my wife and family. I had put numerous filled gas cans pre hurricane in my truck bed. I took these for extra fuel because you never know about the gas situation. Dumb. There were abandoned cars every half mile. Here I am with 25 gallons of gas exposed to the public just minding my business. I cannot describe the type of animals that pulled up alongside me leaving the city. All pointing to my gas trying to pull me over. Of course they were low riding wasting fuel at 80mph. I rolled the window down and stuck the cans in the cab. Reunited with family in Lafayette and life slowly got better. We have since turned our 0 flood risk home into a self sufficient 100% roll down shutter electrical and water fortress. And so are my neighbors. NEVER EVER again will I subject myself and family to the bitch that Katrina was.