HATTIESBURG, MISS. – As the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast prepares for two tropical systems heading toward the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) urges residents to get a plan in place before a hurricane threatens.
“Katrina is a hurricane Mississippi will never forget. It serves as a reminder of why it’s so important to have your evacuation plan in place before a tropical storm threatens,” said Commissioner Tom King, Southern Transportation District. “As we keep a close eye on the developing tropics, we urge residents to act quickly and get their plans in place now.”
Katrina made landfall as a category three hurricane on August 29, 2005, along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, leaving behind enormous destruction and significant loss of life. According to the National Weather Service, Katrina is one of the five deadliest hurricanes to ever hit the United States. The hurricane was responsible for 1,833 fatalities and approximately $108 billion in damage.
Within six hours of landfall, MDOT first responders opened all structurally safe roadways to emergency response teams. Within 16 hours all state-maintained highway lanes had been cleared and opened for the public to access. However, major reconstruction was necessary, including two bridges on U.S. Highway 90.
“MDOT stays prepared for any tropical system that threatens Mississippi,” King said. “Our first responders are stationed and ready to get highways back open as soon as possible for emergency responders.”
To help residents prepare their evacuation plans, MDOT provides free resources including the MDOT Traffic mobile app, a hurricane evacuation kit checklist and the 2020 MDOT Hurricane Evacuation Guide in English, Spanish or Vietnamese.
The Hurricane Evacuation Guide features information to assist in developing a preparedness plan such as evacuation routes, contraflow information, radio coverage areas through Mississippi Public Broadcasting and important contact information from the Mississippi Highway Patrol, American Red Cross, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and bordering state DOTs and highway patrols. Individuals and families will find vital information about shelters, pet care, lodging and travel resources.
To download the Hurricane Evacuation Guide and the full hurricane evacuation kit checklist, and for more hurricane safety tips, visit GoMDOT.com/hurricanes.
As MDOT monitors the tropics you can follow @MississippiDOT on Facebook and Twitter along with the hashtag #HurricaneStrong to stay up to date.