I suppose it may seem somewhat strange to characterize a hurricane as normal. It was normal in the sense there wasn't massive damage and destruction like we saw with Hurricane Katrina. It was with a sense of relief that when we look around, there were only a hundred homes flooded in Mississippi and not the tens of thousands that were reduced to slab after Katrina.
It was a normal hurricane in that there were no pictures of boats in trees, just a few tossed on Highway 90.
It was a normal hurricane in that Highway 90 was closed due to sand being washed onto it and not because large sections were washed away.
Instead of casinos being closed for months, they will reopen today.
Damage assessments ares till being made. When completed, they will be in the millions of dollars and not the billions after Hurricane Katrina.
I'm so thankful Gustav wasn't as bad as it could have been. But I'm fearful that people will become complacent and won't heed the evacuation warnings or prepare for the next hurricane. Even after the devastating storm surge from Hurricane Katrina, there were those on the Jourdan River and Pearlington, both in Hancock County, who didn't heed the mandatory evacuations for Gustav. Some had to be rescued. Not only did they put their lives in danger but those of the National Guard and police and fire and rescue teams as well.
Pass Christian is one of those towns which can expect to be inundated by a storm surge. Even in that most vulnerable city, people stayed and had to be rescued.
Tine and again, when hurricanes move across the Gulf of Mexico like Gustav did, they push water from the south east and water accumulates at the Louisiana and Mississippi line. It goes into Lake Ponchatrain. It goes up the Pearl River. It goes up Bay St. Louis. And until the winds recede and the storm passes on, the water piles up and has no where else to go but on land.
Memories of Katrina are still fresh and raw three years later. These memories will tend to fade as the Mississippi Gulf Coast experiences another normal hurricane. Already there are those who say since their homes didn't flood or wash away from Katrina, they have nothing to fear from the next one. It was this fallacy over the belief that no storm surge could equal Hurricane Camille's which led to many people dying from Katrina's storm surge.
Even with a normal hurricane like Gustav, if evacuation orders are not heeded, loss of life can occur. Thankfully, no one in Mississippi lost their lives in Gustav.
People must remember each hurricane has the potential to be a Betsy, a Camille, an Ivan, a Charley, or a Katrina. It may be a pain in the ass to prepare and to evacuate each time warnings are given. But that pain in the ass may very well save your life.