Remembering Katrina

By: Stephen Bowers Email
By: Stephen Bowers Email

Four years later, those who went through the effects of Hurricane Katrina remembered and recounted the lessons learned.

We saw the wind and rain whip up in a frenzy, well away from the coast, in and around Meridian, when Hurricane Katrina blasted into the northern Gulf Coast four years ago.

We also experienced the power outages that made living miserable for many for way too long.

"It's still in people's minds right now," said David Sharpe, Lauderdale Emergency Management Agency director. "The worst thing that could happen would be for it to be another 20 years before we have another storm where people become complacent."

Changes have been made in the last four years, and now local officials say we're better prepared now for impacts from a major disaster than we have ever been.

"We've gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and ability," said John Baxter of the National Weather Service. "Yes, I think we can handle on all scales much better than Katrina. We learn from every experience, but we're all sitting back hoping this is some knowledge we never have to use."

"If you want to talk about the Red Cross, we could go on all day long because I was there for eight years," said Meridian Mayor Cheri Barry, who was its executive director. "If you want to talk about the city of Meridian, the changes that I see are, I see so many more partnerships and so much more awareness of where we were prior to Katrina and where we are after Katrina. I think that people are working closer together."

For those who were impacted by Hurricane Katrina four years ago, it's a storm to which all future storms will be compared. That next storm will come, and one day another Katrina will be that next storm. All we can do is be as ready as we can.


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