Saturday, September 03, 2005

I'm heading south

I'm heading south

Time to drive down and see if we have something or nothing

The power came on last night here in the area of Jackson, Mississippi, that we evacuated to. Yaaaaay for air conditioning!

So today I am going to make the epic 200 mile journey south to see if we have a home to return to, and to take food, drinks and wet wipes to our 80-year-old neighbour who stayed throughout the storm. I'm going to stay overnight and probably bring back clothes for Amy and me - and our two poor little goats that have been stuck down there with no fresh food or water since Sunday ...

I'll finish my daily notes when I get back - probably starting Monday. I'll have lots to say about what I see thre, and maybe I will post a couple of pictures too ...



Friday, September 02, 2005

No power, but we are fine


No power, but everything is fine ...

We still have no power. So we bring out the battery-operated radios. News reports tell us 99% of Jackson has no electricity. Later reports confirm the same for almost the entire state!

Then we hear that the coastal towns have been virtually destroyed! Everything South of the railtracks in Gulfport and Biloxi has "just gone, it's not there". We have a little house less than half a mile north of the railtracks in Gulfport ... is it still there?

Around lunchtime we head out to try to get some orange juice, batteries some other odds and ends. Had to travel about 20 miles to find somewhere open. Later in the day Walmart, about 3 miles away, and a couple of gas stations open. Oh almost back to normal ... We'll have power by morning says Amy :-) Power company say it could be weeks.

As a Brit I am shocked by this state of affairs - It is amazing how much America still relies on overhead powerlines even in the big cities. And there are trees next to most of them just waiting for an excuse to fall on the lines ...

New Orleans Spared


Wow. New Orleans spared

... but a direct hit between Bay St Lewis and Biloxi if we are seeing the news reports correctly.

At the time we thought Gulfport (which is between Bay St Lewis and Biloxi) was getting the worst of the storm at around 9 or 10 am. We later heard that the storm surge - the rise in sea water that wiped out everything south of the railroad tracks - actually began to hit around 3 am. By 8am or so it was at its highest.

200 miles North in Jackson, we started to suffer around 5 pm when we lost electric power. I hardly slept that night since we had no air conditioning. We had NO idea what was going on, but did not think it was near as bad as things turned out ... we saw on tv that New Orleans had a bad storm, but it looked like they were relatively unscathed.

No news from Gulfport - but then there wouldn't be would there ...

Now it's looking a bit scary


Now it is looking a bit scary.

Recent storms have consistently come ashore sa little to the east of the projected path ... which puts Gulfport, and us, right in it's path.

As usual, Amy and I were indecisive about whether we would evacuate. We have had a couple of near-misses - Ivan, Dennis - where we evacuated for nothing more than some strong winds and a little rain.

Amy's mum called "are you goiung to evacuate? It looks bad!". Amy wanted to finish a little work, then we drove into Gulfport to pick up some dogfood so we had plenty for the dogs if we had to evacuate.

Gulfport was already closed up. Nowhere was open - not Walmart, not MacDonalds, not even Waffle House!!!

We know a hint when we see one. We drove home, had lunch and Amy looked up recommended evacuation routes on the internet. We picked a seemingly obscure route that took us about 30 miles round our normal route - straight up 49 to Jackson - but it seemed like it was a wise move as we travelled. The roads were mostly empty.

Somewhat worryingly there seemed to be few people on the route we took that had or was evacuating. There was evidence of scores of hurricane parties though ...

Should we stay or should we go?


Should we stay or should we go now?

Weather forecast says the hurricane is getting stronger ... will Katrina come to visit? Looks like it is heading for New Orleans.

I worked really late on a project, so I could get it finished just in case we decide to evacuate on Sunday. Mailed the files off to my cient at about 11PM.

First comment about Hurricane Katrina

Friday - "that's not a real hurricane!"

The first post in my breif retrospective about hurricane Katrina

Today we heard about a 'hurricane' in Florida. "It was not a 'real' hurricane", said the guy in our Pilates class "it was just a CAT 1, but we better watch it ..."

You know, if he hadn't said that, we might not have known about the hurricane at all. If anyone reading this knows Amy and I, you will know we don't watch t.v ... so we would not have seen a weather forecast for instance. As it was, with Lee's forewarning (thanks!) we were thinking about being prepared.

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina

We got out safe!

I'll be posting more later today, or maybe tomorrow, but this is to let you know Amy and I got out safe and sound on Sunday. We could see it was going to be a bad storm!

We are in Jackson, Mississippi, staying with Amy's mum. No electric as yet ... I write this Friday afternoon, we've had no power since about 5 PM Monday. No idea when we will have power, bt it could be weeks. No real hassle, Walmart is open down the street :-)

More later ... I have been keeping a simple journal while we had no power. I want to post my thoughts and our experiences here.

Just one thing before I go.

Why are there not more overt attempts to evacuate teh coastal area? Sure there are *finally* busses taking people out of New Orleans .... but what about Gulfport, Biloxi and the rest of the Mississippi coast that has been devastated? Surely the railways could be used to take peop[le north???