As the first of 28 tropical cyclones to form in 2005 didn't do so until early July, all we can do now is wait and be prepared. To that extent, in this week's NEQ Friday Review, I wanted to share with you an account of Hurricane Katrina, which I received this week via email from The Northeast Quadrant fan, Ricky Duncan. With Ricky's permission, here it goes... Hold onto your hats, guys!
My wife and I decided to stay in our house during Katrina. It was a decision that would change our lives forever!
Living just 60 miles due north of New Orleans, in Bogalusa, Louisiana, at the time of Katrina's landfall, we sat directly in the hurricane's path. The winds started blowing in the early morning hours and it was accompanied by a dramatic drop in pressure. The pressure fell so quickly that you actually felt the dip.
We have a room in the center of our house, which we called the safe room – it was a walk-in closet. This is where we would go if the roof started to blow off. My wife Linda had put a bunch of pillows and blankets on the floor to protect us. You see, we had prepared for hurricanes before, so we knew to do all the steps: buy batteries, fill the car with gas, fill the tub with water, etc. What we weren't expecting was the magnitude of this storm!
The winds increased with each passing minute. From window to window we gazed out at the trees in my yard getting blown over by the roots. There was even a huge live oak in my backyard and I watched as a third of it was split off the side, probably 6 foot in diameter. Sadly, this was the focal point of our 1 3/4-acre yard. Out of 14 oak trees I had on my property, now I have 7 left.
I started hearing something in our closed-in garage so I opened the door just to see the roll-up doors bowing in. When I walked back inside I saw water coming through the dining room ceiling. At that point I climbed up in the attic to see where it was coming from. Apparently the wind was blowing the back porch so hard that the nails were trying to back out of the rafters. We were officially at the height of the storm!
We had a pretty new home that had storm windows in it, and those windows looked as if they we bowed inward, but never broke. One tree, that we watched, had been blown back and forth so much that the roots had gotten a whole carved out under it, and when the rain would fill the hole and the wind blew it again, it shot the water up from the other side.
Finally, as the winds calmed down enough we could go outside and assess the damage, and the neighbors had the same idea. Normally, we would shake hands, but after we had been through the storm together, we hugged instead.
Trees laid across the road like cord wood and the smell of natural gas filled the air. Across the road from my house our neighbor had 3 large pine trees inside her house. It was an unbelievable sight!
Since Katrina, we purchased a camper and are now spending our summers off the Gulf Coast in the state of Michigan. The joy is in the journey not the destination, or as Linda says "We're not lost, just exploring!"
Reference: Pictures from Bogalusa, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.