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The Storm Warning (1 of 5)
Series: Storm Proof Life
I suspect we all read that text a bit differently than we did a month ago. Wind and water have a new meaning.
Most of us will never forget the images that flashed across our television screens on August 29th and 30th. We had watched Hurricane Katrina roar across south Florida and into the Gulf, building steam as it went. Our son who is a television reporter in Atlanta had been sent to the Florida panhandle to wait for the storm. On Sunday, August 28, he called to update us on where he was. "This one is a monster," he said. And it was!
Early Monday morning Katrina came howling ashore with 145-mile an hour winds. A 25-foot wall of water blasted across the Gulf Coast destroying everything in sight for miles. It leveled buildings, threw ships on to dry land, toppled oil-drilling platforms, and blew windows out of hospitals, hotels, and high-rises. Katrina left behind 90,000 square miles of wasteland across the Gulf Coast. Rose and I drove through that area only a month before Katrina hit. That's a gorgeous part of the country. It is hard to imagine the devastation.
At first, it looked like New Orleans had been spared the main force of the storm. Then the levies broke. The waters of Lake Ponchatrain poured into New Orleans, putting an estimated eighty-percent of the city underwater. In some places it was twenty-feet deep. Over four hundred thousand people fled the rising waters. Over a thousand lost their lives. Thousands more were stranded in emergency shelters or on highway overpasses with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Many lacked food, water, medicine, and basic health. People struggled for survival.
One commentator described it like this. "When the levees in Louisiana broke, thousands of 21st-century Americans found themselves back in the ancient world. The electricity went out--meaning no lights, no air conditioning, no refrigeration. ...
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