Archive for September, 2005

9/3/2005: 4:20 pm: Hurricane Katrina

I found a link on the City of Biloxi website that led to a portal for viewing land parcels in Biloxi. You can search by building address or by owner.

The Coast Civil Defense and Emergency Management officers released updated hurricane evacuation zone maps in 2001. That page on the WLOX site has links to the maps for most of the coastal cities. Using the above parcel viewer and the evacuation zone map for Biloxi, you can make a reasonable guess as to the likelihood that someone’s house survived.

Most of Zone A, as one would expect, got hit pretty hard.

: 2:47 pm: Hurricane Katrina

My mother and the friends she evacuated to Mobile with drove back to Biloxi this morning. Although the front of the house was fine, the back patio door blew in, despite having a dead bolt lock. There was water damage to the carpet and an oak table, as well as a bunch of dirt and leaves that blew into that part of the house. Some photos were damaged. Oddly enough, some of leaves were blown throughout the house, with a small number actually being blown up the stairs and onto my Mom’s bed. If you knew all the 90 degree turns the leaves would have had to have made to get upstairs to her bed, you would be as amazed as I am at that. Otherwise, the house came through pretty well. One big pine tree on the lot north of her’s fell down and crushed part of a fence. Fortunately, it didn’t hit anything else. She lives on Popps Ferry Rd near North Country Club Lane.

One of her friend’s house had a roof leak and a tree down across the driveway. The other friend’s house had a lot more damage, though. The roof was punched through in several places, and the ceiling had caved through into some rooms. He is having it covered with a tarp for now by a guy who came down from Nashville with a bunch of very large tarps. I think the neighborhood her friends live in is called River Place.

Since there is still no power or water service, they headed back to Mobile. There are rumors that north Biloxi may get power back as early as Tuesday. She said there were power company trucks working on the lines everywhere they went.

: 1:22 am: Hurricane Katrina

Someone has put together a Google Map that lets you add markers for locations where you know information about buildings or people. There are already a lot of markers on the map.

Update 10/14/05: I just ran across a page at Google Maps Mania that lists a lot more sites that have integrated Google Maps with geographical data related to Katrina.

: 1:02 am: Hurricane Katrina

The husband of one of my Mom’s friends drove by my Mom’s house today and reported back that the only obvious exterior damage was a few missing shingles. Fortunately, she’d had a bunch of work done on the exterior of the house recently. While that might seem like having it rain after you washed your car, I suspect that a lot of the cedar siding on the second story got nailed or screwed down tighter while they were doing the work.

My biggest worry was that one of the big pine trees on the next lot had come crashing down on the house. Tornadoes were a big worry, too. Not long after a hurricane comes on shore, it begins to spin off small tornadoes. Some of these tornadoes can have winds approaching 200 miles per hour. Around ten years ago, a metal shed from our back yard in Biloxi got ripped away and ended up far away from the house in a tree. The winds from that particular hurricane definitely weren’t strong enough to have done that. Fortunately, these tornadoes tend to be fairly narrow and to dissipate quickly.

9/2/2005: 1:12 am: Hurricane Katrina

NOAA has posted detailed aerial photos from this week. I was told by a friend that they were satellite images, but I’ve since read that they were aerial photos. I thought they were a little too detailed to have been taken by a satellite. They have an image map of the area where you can click on boxes to more easily find what you are looking for. You can also download big compressed files with images from larger areas. nce you figure out what area you are looking for, it makes sense to download the images. The images are quite large, so it may be difficult to zoom in on them in a web browser. The Ocean Springs page also includes Biloxi.

Here are some of the images with objects I identified (or at least think I identified) from Biloxi.

The second path went over the parts of Biloxi that border the south side of the Back Bay. Unfortunately, there aren’t any images of the north side, so I can’t see the neighborhood where my mother’s house is.

: 12:00 am: Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita

If you’re looking for someone who may have been in the path of Katrina or want to post info on someone who you know made it through okay, please check out the following registries.

Update 9/25: Here are a couple more sites to check out.

9/1/2005: 9:53 am: Hurricane Katrina

I updated my Katrina Video post to contain a couple more links to videos, mostly from major news networks. There’s not that much amateur video out there, yet, since most of these people don’t have electricity, much less an internet connection.

Later today, I plan to post some info on how radio and television stations in the area are holding up. Some of them, like WLOX in Biloxi, were almost completely knocked off the grid.

: 12:50 am: The Unusual and the Weird

And in a needed break from the mostly depressing hurricane news, I bring you news (though many of you likely are ahead of me on this) of The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. So far, Intelligent Design proponents have put forth an extremely narrow, dogmatic proposal on how the universe must have come about by intelligent design. Since they claim they just want schools to teach alternative explanations to evolution, surely they will be open to alternative intelligent designs. Right? Right? No, of course not, because there is no science behind Intelligent Design. Why couldn’t the Intelligent Designer have been the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

: 12:30 am: Hurricane Katrina

The Oakland Tribune had a story today on Eqecat, featuring a picture and interview with David F. Smith, the husband of a friend of mine from Biloxi. David has become quite familiar with Biloxi, so I’m sure he is well suited to help Eqecat develop their estimates of the total insured losses from Katrina. Eqecat is currently estimating $9 bilion to $16 billion in insured losses, not including the offshore oil and natural gas rigs.

: 12:06 am: Hurricane Katrina

So far, all the friends I’ve directly or indirectly heard from made it through the hurricane relatively okay. Of course, it’s the ones I haven’t heard from that worry me. Due to the lack of electricity and the still unreliable landline and mobile phone networks, it’s hard to get the word out from even the people who are fine.

My mother is still in Mobile, Alabama, and is safe. She said that probably the earliest she and her friends would be allowed back into Biloxi would be Monday. They have water and wastewater service at her friend’s brother’s house, but no power. The house across the street has power, though. They spent part of the day at a mall in Mobile, which was amazingly open for business. Anytime it’s August in the South and you don’t have air conditioning, there are worse places to be than a mall.

A friend of a friend just left New Orleans and headed west. He wrote that:

The Uptown WalMart parking lot was littered with shopping baskets, trash, bags, just crazy amounts of debris. I heard on TV last night that the looting was crazy there and that the entire gun section had been emptied. It was very scary riding down this pitch black road, seeing people on the side of the road appear in my headlights, either hitchhiking or pushing a basket of stolen goods or just wandering. It reminded me of Dawn of the Dead.

He said that I-10 from just west of New Orleans to Lafayette was in pretty good shape.


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