Back to Nature (Published on - Aug. 30, 2007)
Anniversary of Katrina
Photo courtesy of NOAA
Hurricane Katrina: August 29, 2005 13:09:40, Latitude: 31.05, Longitude: -89.65: Observation Device: GOES-12 1 km visible imagery
This week marks two years since the most costly and one of the deadliest natural disasters struck the United States, Hurricane Katrina.

On August 25-31, 2005, Hurricane Katrina created a path of destruction across southern Florida and caused widespread, massive devastation along the central Gulf Coast and into parts of southeast Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center reports: “Damage to home and businesses in both Louisiana and Mississippi was catastrophic. The current estimate for overall damages and costs is approximately $125 billion, based on various figures including over $100 billion in U.S. Government expenditures and estimate from Munich Re. The death toll is now estimated as 1833, with several hundred people still listed as missing. Katrina was the third deadliest hurricane since 1900, being topped only by the Galveston hurricane of 1900 (at least 8000 deaths) and Lake Okeechobee Hurricane of 1928 (over 2500 deaths).”

Hurricane Katrina had sustained winds during landfall of 125 mph (110 kts) (a strong category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale) and minimum central pressure the third lowest on record at landfall (920 mb) but the most devastating impact of this storm was caused by rising water surges of 22 – 24 feet and resulting massive flooding.

Hurricane Katrina is a spectacular, visual manifestation of the unpredictable, violent forces of nature. Florida residents can never be too serious when it concerns making preparations for hurricane season.

Residents can’t expect and rely upon first responders to be able to reach them. Katrina taught us that we must be prepared to survive completely on our own in a situation if we become isolated. Theoretically there are maps, and calculations, plans and tactical response teams trained and ready for action, but in reality there is no way of pin-point predicting the actual outcomes if, in fact, Tampa Bay were to take a direct hit such as Katrina took on the Central Gulf Coast.

NOAA, Florida Disaster, SERT, Red Cross have published a wealth of educational materials, knowledge fairs, press releases and informational Web sites and Hurricane Preparedness Manuals. Even so, there seems to be complacency among the public in general, or perhaps a fight and flight syndrome. “Not me, Not my town, Not my family. Oh dear, pile the family in the car or run your life.”

Florida Disaster and SERT warns, “In a major disaster, emergency workers may not be able to reach everyone right away, and in some cases it may take 3 or more days for help to arrive. What would you do if you had no electricity, no gas, no water and no telephone service? Having a plan for your family and their needs will help ensure their safety and comfort during these difficult times.”

Florida Hurricane Motto: Don’t wait. If you’ve set aside funds for your child’s or grandchild’s college education or perhaps put a deposit down on future funeral arrangements or maybe purchased an insurance policy for your home appliances - just in case one breaks down; apply this same kind of logical, long term, preparedness thinking to hurricane preparedness. Make this a reality for the love of your family and the respect and honor of that first responder that may have to put his or her life on the line, because you didn’t care to take the time or energy to put a plan in place to save your own life or the lives of your loved ones.

Make a Plan.

Karen can be reached at

Copyright © 2004-2017 Karen Mitchell Tremmel, All Rights Reserved.
All text in this site is original and copyrighted by the author, who writes for a living. Please do not reproduce in whole or part without permission, except for brief quotations covered under the "Fair Use" provision of U.S. copyright law. Thanks.