Did you know that the anniversary of when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans is approaching (August 23rd). It’s been 7 years since the day Hurricane Katrina altered thousands of lives forever. Even now, after many years, the area has not 100% fully rcovered from the trail of devastation that Hurricane Katrina left in it’s path.
I was doing some research on Hurricane Katrina and came across a site that has some very interesting (and scary) facts about Hurricane Katrina. I found it on the DoSomething.Org website.
11 Facts about Hurricane Katrina
- Hurricane Katrina was the sixth strongest hurricane ever recorded and the third strongest hurricane ever recorded to make landfall in the U.S.
- In New Orleans, the evacuation plan was particularly crucial because it is in the Storm Surge Zone, below sea level (up to six feet in some places). Its levees were only designed for a Category 3 and Katrina was forecast as a Category 4 featuring gusts topping 140 miles an hour (225 kilometers an hour).
- The storm surge from Katrina was 20-feet (six meters) high.
- The failure of the levees was due to system design flaws for the most part, combined with the lack of adequate maintenance. Apparently, the designers, builders and maintenance people did not devote enough time or attention to the levees in the region.
- More than one million Gulf Coast residents have been displaced and many of the refugees were living below the poverty line before the storm struck.
- The final death toll was at 1,836, primarily from Louisiana (1,577) and Mississippi (238). It’s very difficult to determine the exact cause of the deaths but they were all caused either directly or indirectly by the Hurricane.
- An estimated 80% of New Orleans was under water, up to 20 feet deep in places.
- Hurricane Katrina caused $75 billion in estimated physical damages, the most costly hurricane in history, but it is estimated that the total economic impact in Louisiana and Mississippi may exceed $150 billion.
- About 90,000 square miles were affected by Katrina.
- Before the hurricane, the region supported approximately one million non-farm jobs, with 600,000 of them in New Orleans, but hundreds of thousands of local residents were left unemployed by the hurricane.
- More than 70 countries pledged monetary donations or other assistance. Kuwait made the largest single pledge of $500 million, but Qatar, India, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh made very large donations as well.
For the record you can plenty of valuable information on th DoSomething.org website about being prepared in case of emergencies such as hurricanes. Check out these pages for more information: Disasters, Disaster Preparedness, Hurricanes and this Fact Sheet.
I have seen hundreds of photographs in the aftermath of the catastrophic event and I couldn’t imagine the horror that the residents of the area had to go through. I know that the residents expected to get hit by Katrina, but no one could imagine just how hard it would hit the area. Entire homes swept away, families separated during the panic to evacuate, loosing your most valuable possessions such as family photos and heirlooms… it not only breaks my heart but it makes me fearful about what I would do if I was in a similar situation. Here in New York we’ve been lucky. We’ve had some nasty hurricanes sweep through here. Hurricane Floyd (Sept. 16, 1999), which left us without power for 3 days. Hurricane Irene, which hit August 27, 2011 was especially nasty too. Thankfully we didn’t see much damage but other part of New York were hit hard.
I still think no hurricane compares to Hurricane Irene as far as the damage is concerned. Here it is years later and many locations have yet to be rebuilt and hundreds of residents chose never to return.
Were you in the New Orleans area when Hurricane Irene hit? If not you can see what it was like through the eyes of Mary Lynn Kassky. She was there when the hurricane hit. Now you can see what happened through her eyes in her book, The Other Side of the Storm. I think the title perfectly fits this book. So much emphasis is put on the storm it’s self, but not too many people focus on the other side of this story – the people who were there and lived to tell about it.
I like how Mary starts her story before the hurricane hit. It was a great way to introduce readers to the family before their lives changed forever.
Mary goes on to document all that her and her family experienced while they were evacuating their home and trying to escape Katrina’s path of destruction. As you read Mary’s story you get swept up into all the chaos and emotion her family was experiencing. You feel as if you were right there next to Mary during the entire course of events. All I can say is that I hope and pray I NEVER have to experience that in real life. Just reading about it was traumatic enough. All I could think about as I was reading Mary’s words is what would I do if it was my family going through that very same thing. As a parent it’s something you hope you never have to experience with your children.
What I liked about Mary’s book is that she didn’t just stop her story when Hurricane Katrina hit. She went on to share her family’s story in the weeks after the event. They were displaced for several weeks and unable to return to their home. When they were their home coming was bittersweet. To be honest with you I was surprised at how her family felt when they returned to their home after the storm. It’s an emotion that I would expect to feel but unless you’ve walked in her shoes you can’t truly relate.
Mary’s story kept me on the edge of my seat and tugged at my heart strings, all within the same book. It was truly an eye-opening experience. She described everything in such great depth that it puts you, the reader, right there inside the story with her.
With the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina upon is this would be a great book to read because it helps people not to forget what happened seven years ago. It also can prepare you can your family for the unexpected. Her story truly makes me appreciate each and every day because life can change forever in a heartbeat.
Look for The Other Side of the Storm at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles and other book retail locations.
*I received a free sample copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced in any way.