Hurricane Irma and Harvey, a Replay of Rita and Katrina?
Kevin Felts 09.05.17
Hurricane Irma and Harvey might be a replay of what happened with Hurricane Katrina and Rita. There are a lot of lessons here, some of them not so pleasant.
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeastern Louisiana. As history tells us, levees broke and part of New Orleans was flooded. Thousands of people were forced to make an emergency evacuation with nothing more than the clothes on their back.
A good number of Hurricane Katrina evacuees ended up in southeast Texas — Orange, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Jasper, and Newton.
Unknown to everyone at the time, Hurricane Rita was going to make landfall in southeast Texas. The people who had evacuated from New Orleans had to be evacuated, yet again. The scene was organized chaos. A good number of people from New Orleans had been brought to southeast Texas by bus. Since they had no transportation, they had to be bused again, this time to whatever city could take them. This was while Rita had Texas firmly in its cross hairs and evacuations were going on from Houston to western Louisiana.
In 2005, I was working for a not for profit organization who was providing aid to Katrina evacuees who had arrived in the Jasper, Texas area. When projections put Rita making landfall near Orange, Texas, there was a mass effort to get Katrina evacuees relocated as soon as possible.
Fast forward to August 2017. Hurricane Harvey made landfall not once, but twice. There was widespread flooding from Houston all the way to Orange, Bridge City, Vidor, Lumberton, Port Arthur… etc.
Here we are in September, and Hurricane Irma has the coastal states in its cross hairs, just like Hurricane Rita did.
With Hurricane Rita, emergency responders were overwhelmed with Katrina. As a result, aid for Hurricane Rita victims was limited. After Rita passed through southeast Texas, it was several days before emergency responders were able to set up food and water distribution locations.
After Rita passed through, my family and I were at home listening to the local radio station, KJAS out of Jasper. There is a sense of despair when the County Sheriff told everyone not to call 911, because there would be no help.
In all, we spent 18 days without electricity after Hurricane Rita.
If Hurricane Irma makes landfall in the United States, organizations who provide emergency services will be overwhelmed. Just as with Hurricane Rita, people who are victims of Hurricane Irma will be on their own for some time.
Wherever Irma makes landfall, you will have to be totally self-sufficient. I speak from first hand experience.
Keep an eye on Irma, pay attention and prep accordingly.