Hurricane Katrina

9/5/2005: 7:29 pm: Hurricane Katrina

My mother just spoke with her neighbor across the street on Popps Ferry Rd. in north Biloxi. The electricity came back on at their house today. That can obviously make a huge difference, as many people can now boil water to sanitize it and they can much more quickly spread the news that they are safe (assuming DSL and cable internet providers are functioning).

My mother is planning to go back to her house tomorrow to do some more clean up and to check to see if her car will start. If the power is also on at her house and at least one of the vehicles starts, I suspect she will likely stay. I was planning to check the electricity status by calling her house and waiting to see if the answering machine picked up, but she told me that she had turned off all the circuit breakers before she evacuated.

Thank you very much to the men and women at utility companies who are working so hard out in the field to restore power to the neighborhoods!

: 4:34 pm: Hurricane Katrina

The American Red Cross The American Red Cross

Please help the victims of Hurricane Katrina by donating to the Red Cross. My mother was a nurse in Biloxi for many years and has volunteered for the Red Cross and served on the board for a division of the Red Cross in South Mississippi. A very large percentage of the money you donate to the Red Cross goes directly to helping those who are most in need.

: 3:22 pm: Hurricane Katrina

The WLOX website continues to be an excellent resource for video and still images of the Mississippi Coast. WLOX suffered a great amount of damage from the hurricane. Their antenna was knocked off the roof and huge holes were ripped through the roof and ceiling. They’ve gotten fuel for the generators, though, and are back in business, even if in a limited capacity. Their website has been kept to date through the generous help of personnel at other stations throughout the South.

The driving and helicopter video tours of the Coast are astonishing. Although I haven’t lived in Biloxi for twenty-two years, I’m still fairly familiar with the area through my regular visits to see my mother and my friends. At times during the videos, I have to struggle to spot even a single reminder of the area they are driving through or flying over.

WWL in New Orleans has also been a fantastic source of information not just about New Orleans, but all over the Louisiana and Mississippi coastlines. They are currently reporting that Mayor Nagin believes over 10,000 may be dead.

: 2:18 pm: Hurricane Katrina

If you happen to be listening to KCBS in San Francisco at around 3:30 pm today, you may hear me being interviewed about my family and friends in Biloxi, Mississippi, and how they are surviving the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

9/3/2005: 7:23 pm: Hurricane Katrina

My mother spoke with a neighbor in north Biloxi who said that water service was restored this afternoon to their neighborhood (just north of the Sunkist subdivision).

Update Sept. 3, 10:30 pm: Hopefully, no one is drinking that water, though. I just read a story at about some people in Biloxi potentially getting dysentery after drinking tap water on Friday.

: 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.

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