As the 14th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, the Mississippi Department of Transportation reminds the public that now is the time to prepare for hurricane season.
Katrina surged through South Mississippi on August 29, 2005, unleashing more than $1 billion in damage to the state’s transportation infrastructure. Within six hours of landfall, MDOT officials 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 is prepared for any tropical system,” said Commissioner Tom King, Southern Transportation District. “Our first responders are always on standby for any emergency. We are stationed and prepared to immediately inspect roads and bridges and ready to clear debris to get highways open for other emergency responders.”
Residents can also be prepared by having an evacuation plan in place before any tropical system threatens. To help you prepare, MDOT offers the 2019 Hurricane Evacuation Guide as an essential resource. View the guide along with a disaster-kit checklist and instructional videos on hurricane preparation at GoMDOT.com/hurricanes. Free copies are available to order at GoMDOT.com/maps.
The 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.
“Katrina was a powerful blow to the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” King said. “We remember those who were killed and the property that was lost in its surge. That’s why it’s vital to get out harm’s way. You can always replace property, but you can’t replace a life.”
After Katrina, as communities pulled together, MDOT was there to help rebuild bigger and stronger. Read more about how far transportation infrastructure has come since the storm in Katrina+10: Bridging the Road to Renewal. The E-book is currently available at GoMDOT.com/katrina.
“We hope we never see another Katrina, but we are prepared if it happens,” King said. “Now is an important time to remind South Mississippi residents to be prepared and have a plan together for the remainder of hurricane season.”
Follow @MississippiDOT on social media along with the hashtag #HurricaneStrong this Hurricane Season.