Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Katrina, 7 years I thought about it back then...

As I sit here, some of Hurricane Isaac is pounding my house with the hardest rain we've had in the ~36 hours since Isaac started menacing the midsouth Gulf region.  Isaac is "only" a Category 1 hurricane; max sustained winds "only" around 80 mph.  And, both Hattiesburg and New Orleans, LA broke daily rainfall records as a Cat 1 storm came ashore (slowly!).  Care to guess when those now-broken records were set?  Yep, you guessed it: 7 years ago today when a MUCH stronger storm rolled through.

Again, Katrina's rain records have been shattered today, and it's raining harder right now (8:15 p.m. the day after Isaac first made landfall) than it has in the last couple of days.  Turns out, Captain Obvious, that a Cat 1 storm that moves VERY slowly, does a LOT of water damage.

Anyway, with that background, I wanted to replay some of my thoughts from our time in Katrina's sights 7 years ago.

What follows are two of my xanga posts from those days just as I wrote them back then...only the images are new, plus the conclusion at the bottom.

xanga post #1. (at about 4:30 a.m. on the day Katrina came ashore...I woke up through the night to monitor. At the time, I was Director of College Planning & Placement @ PCS, a very good private high school in town.)==========================================
3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
11 May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!
Psalm 29:3,4,10,11
I love the picture in v. 10: "enthroned over the flood"...

I'm expecting power to disappear in the not-too-distant future. Know that He is king, and that you are loved & prayed for!

In His Grip,
the beach bum
(xanga post #1 ends)

(See the intersection of I-59 & another couple of major-ish roads right in the midle of this picture? That's Hattiesburg (a.k.a., "The Hub City" because of the confluence of roads). Yeah...we took a beating here too...the eye of the storm passed right near us just a few miles to the west of my house)

xanga post #2. (Written a few days later from Mom's place in Ft. Walton Beach, FL)
Sounds Katrina. A pleasant, Eastern-European sounding name. One pictures a pretty young lady at the marketplace.

Or the most devastating natural disaster to hit America since the San Francisco earthquake & fire in the early 1900s.

Here, then, are some of the sounds I’ll always associate with Katrina.
● the sound of gentle, misting rain early Monday morning that belied the fury to come
● the banshee-like cry of 120 mph winds whipping down my street…an eerie, otherworldly, malevolent sound unlike any other
● the swooshing sounds trees make when being whip-sawed back & forth in those same winds
● the cracking sounds of 75-foot trees straining to hold themselves vertical
● the thud those trees make when crashing to the ground after surrendering to the power of the wind
● the incongruously-pleasant ringing of our wind chimes Monday evening with the tail end aftermath of the storm gently breezing its way through the Pine Belt
● being awakened to generators and chainsaws being cranked
● the sound of sausage being cooked over our propane camping stove
● the sound of my neighbor’s well-pump beginning to give up its precious cargo of water
● various neighbors & distantly-located relatives asking “Is everything OK?” after the storm
● increasing concern in Mom’s voice in successive voice messages left during the time in which no phone service was available
● total relief in her voice when I finally reached her Tuesday morning to tell her we were OK
● total defeat in my neighbor’s voice as he described how their camping trailer had been badly damaged when the shed it was stored under collapsed (they were scheduled to head out this week for a month-long camping trip…)
● the voice of a guy in my Sunday School class to a policeman directing traffic in the middle of highway 98 (because the traffic lights were out): “Hey Buddy…want a Powerade?”
● the sound of a guy’s voice at a gas station in Mexia, AL…some 130 miles or so from Hattiesburg saying “we do have gas, & we are pumping…where are y’all from?” and “do y’all have a place to stay?”
● the relief in Mom’s & my Brother’s voice as both said, “well, I’m glad y’all got out…”
● James saying “it’s like it’s not real!”
● the sound of the shower at Mom’s as I stood under it last night
● the sound of the air conditioner at Mom’s kicking on last night…yeah, I shed a tear…
● the choking up of a WKRG reporter on the MS coast after the storm as she spoke of people coming up & asking her if she had seen loved ones
● the guy’s voice from the MS coast: “I can’t find my wife’s body…the house split in half…I tried to hold on to her…she said ‘you can’t hang on…just take care of the children…’…we’ve got nowhere to go…I’m lost…”
(Note: I’d like everyone who uttered the idiotic sentiment “I wish a hurricane would come here…” or "cool, the hurricane's coming here..." to be required to watch this clip once a day, every day during hurricane season…)

“The Lord sat as king in the flood…”Hallelujah! He still reigns!
the anxious beach bum….who is anxious to hear reports from many a beloved student…know that you are both loved and prayed for!
p.s. – Wednesday, 9/7 – we still don’t have power in H’burg…but James & I have sure cut up many a tree/limb…
p.p.s. – school resumes next Monday…*and the crowd goes wild*
(05 post #2 ends)======================================
(Gulfport is directly south of Hattiesburg)

(Hattiesburg is just north of the fourth "S" in "Mississippi" here.)
As I write this--8/29/12--I sit in air-conditioned comfort, with a belly full of freshly-grilled burgers. The rain is lashing my city right now, but so far (*knocks on wood*) no damage here.  Meanwhile, just down the road a bit, people are battling wind, rain, and storm surge.  Providence smiles and frowns. Definitely has smiled on us so far; definitely frowned on others. His ways are higher than our ways…
I 'spect my nerves will always react a bit when a storm forms & is heading this way...

Thank You, Father, for sparing my home & my family & my neighbors. Thank you for sitting as King in the flood in August, 05...and for sitting as King right now and forever.


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