8/25/05 - 11:00 PM - Hurricane Katrina has hit the east coast of Florida and the National Hurricane Center is predicting that she will have no effect on Mobile, AL.
8/26/05 - 4:00PM - National Hurricane Center is now predicting Hurricane Katrina will hit just west of Mobile, AL on Monday, putting us in the North East Quadrant of what could be a category 4 hurricane. This will definitely have an effect on us!
8/26/05 - 7:30PM - Gas stations claim that they are out of regular and are only selling premium gas. Noticed tractor trailer loads of plywood heading to Home Depot. No lines in Home Depot yet.
8/27/05 - 7:30PM - Back to Home Depot for parts for the grill. No lines. Hurricane Katrina is now 115 MPH and heading to New Orleans. Looks like we can leave the boat outside.
8/28/05 - 7:00AM - Hurricane Katrina is now a Category 5 hurricane with 155 MPH winds. The boat is coming inside the garage! I won't be going to work on Monday.
8/28/05 - 2:00PM - Hurricane Katrina now has winds of 175 MPH. The boat is finally secure! (Priorities) Mobile County south of I-10 is now under a mandatory evacuation. We are north of I-10, but will be remaining even if a mandatory evacuation is declared. Colleen is preparing to go to Blockbuster to rent some videos. (Priorities) I'm going swimming and then start boarding windows on the south side of the house. We haven't decided on boarding up the north side yet. It's a lot of work and if Katrina hits west of us, the north side won't see any wind.
8/28/05 - 4:00PM - Finished with the south windows just before the first feeder band from Katrina hit us. A tornado just developed a few miles west of us in Semmes and is heading west into Mississippi. Maybe the north side of the house will see some wind. Mobile County east of I-65 is now under a mandatory evacuation. We are west of I-65.
8/28/05 - 8:30PM - Finished with the north windows and the second feeder band is approaching. The news is showing Interstate 10 backed up for miles. Some folks that tried to leave New Orleans this afternoon haven't made it past Mobile yet. The radio is telling folks that are still on the Interstate to come to the Mobile shelters. Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel is in Gulfport, MS. This is not a good omen for us as he usually picks the location that ends up getting hit by a hurricane. That will put us on the NorthEast quadrant where the maximum damage occurs. The generators are set up and I'm getting the battery invertors set up now. The younger girls are already asleep in Megan's bed. The older girls are too excited to sleep and are staying busy annoying their mom.
8/28/05 - 10:30PM - Hurricane Katrina is at 160 MPH and is turning toward the east. We are as ready as we are going to be and now we just wait.
8/29/05 - 7:00AM - Hurricane Katrina is at 145 MPH and is hitting Louisiana. New Orleans is to the west of the eye and we are currently getting hit harder than they are. Winds in Mobile are at 42 MPH with gusts of 65 MPH. We've still got power and cable TV, but the girls are still asleep. The causeway across Mobile Bay (HWY 90) is now flooded and Interstate 10 doesn't appear to be out of the water by much. (There is a remote camera showing both roads) There are still people driving on I-10! The newspaper was delivered this morning!
8/29/05 - 8:00AM - Power is flickering and we lost cable for 2 minutes. We just had a 70 MPH gust. The local TV coverage is available at:
NBC 15 Live Coverage of Hurricane Katrina
8/29/05 - 9:00AM - Tornados are hitting Mobile! Dawes road going to Tanner Williams road. That location is to the west of us and luckily for us they are heading northwest at 85 MPH. NBC 15 just showed the causeway already under four feet of water and the storm surge hasn't hit yet. They also announced their generator has a fire and they will probably go off the air. Their webcast has reverted to a loop of yesterday's broadcast. We still have power and cable TV at our house, but most of the county seems to have lost power.
8/29/05 - 9:15AM - Power is out! The VCR (on battery) is not working right. The girls are upset! I've got a conference call in a few minutes and they'll have to wait to start watching the pile of movies from Blockbuster. The girls will have to watch regular TV (on battery) for a while. Unfortunately for them, their Dad forgot to buy an external antennae so the signal is poor. I'm down to a 28.8K dial up connection. We are getting some pretty good gusts of wind. Small branches are blowing around, but no damage yet.
8/29/05 - 11:00AM - The VCR is working! Crisis over. The invertors are working fine. I'm holding off bringing the generators on-line for a while. Katrina has hit shore now, but we are still on the north east side of the eye. Winds are gusting over 75 MPH. One of the neighbor's roof shingles are blowing off. We're trying to get video, but the lens fogged over. Some medium size branches have fallen. We heard some loud noises on the roof and assume that they are falling branches.
8/29/05 - 1:30PM - The eye is now west of us, but we are still getting a lot of wind. It looks like the next band may be the last significant wind we see in Katrina in Mobile. Our yard is covered with debris, but there is no damage visible to any of our neighbors except for the one that is missing a lot of roof shingles. I brought the generators on line for about an hour to cool of the freezers. The invertors are working fine so the girls are watching videos and DVDs.
8/29/05 - 3:30PM - The same feeder band is camped out over Mobile. We are still getting hurricane winds and neighbors are getting some minor damage. The next door neighbor lost a tree that is now covering his boat. The house with missing shingles is now missing a few shutters. Across the street, part of their aluminum siding has come loose and is causing a terrible racket. Three more houses have loose shingles, but don't seem to have lost many. The video is still fogged up so we can't record. We just saw someone driving down our street even with medium sized branches being blown up the street. (It was our neighbor's nephew EVACUATING her in the middle of the hurricane)
8/29/05 - 8:30PM - We are still getting tropical storm gusts, but the rain has stopped. I've taken down all of the boards. I've got some pictures to upload at a later time. (Loaded now) Overall, we saw more damage than Ivan, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. The low lying areas in Mobile got hit very hard. The storm surge was supposed to be 15 feet. There is a report of a barge in a park downtown. We are under a curfew tonight, but people are still driving around. Since there are no lights on I-10, there are a lot of pelicans roosting on the road. The results of the occasional driver are not pretty. We are still without power, but the generators have allowed the girls to watch 8 movies so far. The dial-up internet connection is spotty and I haven't been able to post to this page until now.
8/29/05 -10:30PM - Frogs and Coast Guard Helicopters! It's going to be a noisy night.
8/30/05 - 6:30AM - The battery invertors ran all night! We had a energy balance crisis when I started the generators. The battery chargers were on the same circuit as the refrigerator and the large load shut down the refrigerator. It took a while to troubleshoot, but everything is back on line now. Clean up starts! The radio is saying nothing is open except for stores selling emergency supplies and the neighbors are saying that two of the exits to the neighborhood are blocked by trees. We'll be staying home and trying to clean up.
8/30/05 - 11:30AM - Taking a break for lunch. I managed to not kill my self with the chainsaw. I've gone through a couple of tanks of gas and still have a few more limbs to take care of. The two big girls are pitching in with cleaning up the leaves. Colleen started with cleaning out the pool and I'm now wiring up the pool pump to run off of one of the generators. Then she wants me to power-wash the pool deck before cleaning up more leaves.
8/30/05 - 4:00PM - Thank you to everyone who has tried to call us. Most of the time the circuits are busy and we do not get your call. We are all fine and have a lot of work ahead of us. We do not have access to TV, but hear that the pictures of Mobile are showing a lot of devastation. We are not located in those areas and have done very well. We got power for about 2 seconds and then we heard a loud explosion coming from the direction of the substation that we use. Looks like no power for us today. The pool is a nice diversion to cool off after working in the heat and cleaning it was not as crazy an idea as I thought. The bad news is that the generator uses a lot of gas when its running the pool pump. We will probably run out of gas tomorrow, but will be able to get some more (even if I have to take it out of the boat).
8/30/05 - 8:00PM - We are under a curfew again. The police have come by with spotlights. It's unbelievable that some people would loot at a time like this, but it has happened. We might have gotten half the clean up completed today and have another big day planned tomorrow. We'll probably try to get out around noon and get some gas for the generators. A couple of minor scares tonight: The large generator stopped working, but it turned out to be a low oil cutout. It took about 1 oz to bring it up to full. Also, the carbon monoxide alarm sounded in the house, but it turned out to be a low battery. A new battery took care of it.
8/31/05 - 6:30AM - Battery invertors made through the night again. Still no power, but we continue to have fresh, running water. Two Alabama Power trucks came by so it looks good. We plan on cleaning up in the morning while it is somewhat cool and running out at lunch time to try to find gas and a few other items like a TV antennae.
8/31/05 - 11:30AM - POWER! The electricity is back on. We had just emptied the last container of gas into the generators, when the lights came on. We're still going to get some gas as we don't know how long the power will remain on.
8/31/05 - 5:00PM - No luck finding gas. Some of the stations were open, but there were 4 hour lines and some of the stations were out of gas when we came back to them. We witnessed a looter in broad day light several hundred yards from a policeman. It was so unbelievable that we didn't do anything. This guy was willing to risk his life for a light fixture off of an Office Max store. The damage in west Mobile, where we live, is more extensive than Ivan, but was all very survivable. Some houses have been severely damaged by falling trees and a few roofs will need to be replaced. We did not want to interfere with clean up efforts in the low lying areas so we did not go there, but I talked to a friend that has a place on Dauphin Island and he says that many of the houses on the east end of the island have lost their first story, but most are built up on pilings so they suffered little damage. The pictures of the west end look horrible. It looks like most of the sand has been washed away. The city set up a garbage collection site at Cottage Hill Park and we were able to get rid of a week's worth of garbage. It was much better organized that Ivan and we didn't have to wait at all. It's amazing what people will wait in line for. The Mobile Civic center was a site that was giving out free drinking water and 3 bags of ice. They actually told people not to come down to wait as they were going to run out based on the number of people already in line. Mobile never lost drinking water! Why would you wait in line for hours for something that you already have at home?
8/31/05 - 10:00PM - We are under another curfew tonight. We had some friends over that are still without power and they were able to get some wash done while we all had dinner. Thank you to all of you who have offered to help us and we apologize for not answering most of your calls and emails. I hope that I will be able to answer your messages this weekend. It's good to hear from folks that we haven't heard from in a long time. We've been amazed at the pictures that we're now able to see on TV. The damage that we're seeing is all from the water in the storm surge and the sad thing is that many of the folks that have lost their homes do not have flood insurance and won't be covered for this damage. We've still got a lot of clean up to get done at our place, but we do not have any insurance claims. Tomorrow we'll start looking at ways to help others. Emily is getting together with a few of her school mates to try to organize something to help out the folks from Mississippi and Louisiana that are stranded in Mobile .
9/1/05 - 7:00AM - Power stayed on all night. The girls haven't moved since they went to sleep last night. We are lucky that we don't have to run the generator as the news showed the lines at the few gas stations that are open are over a mile long. We've got more clean up to do today. I think we will finish today.
9/1/05 - 9:00PM - We are still under a dusk to dawn curfew including the airport. Flights that were scheduled to come in at 10PM are now coming in the next day at 5:44am. We have cleaned up all of the debris as of tonight! Everyone pitched in and we got it done in three days. We ran a couple of errands today and searched for gas for the generators. Some folks that had power lost it. Most of the gas stations were closed and the gas stations that were open had huge lines. The US Coast Guard is supposed to be using me and my boat to assist with rescue operations, but I can't do it without gas. My friend offered to take his boat over to New Orleans, but was told he would have to bring enough supplies and gas for three days of operations on his own. Big scare tonight on the greenbelt two houses down... some kids started a gasoline fire that had flames shooting up toward the pine trees. Colleen just happened to see them and sent me out to investigate. A house on the next street was having some sort of party with 14 kids and some of them decided to play with fire. This debris is drying out quickly and we'll have another disaster if it catches on fire. Tomorrow we plan on clearing out the garage and taking all of my gadgets out of the house. We are also going to try to see President Bush who is scheduled to be in Mobile. No idea where or when, but if the opportunity comes up we'll give it a shot.
9/2/05 - 7:30AM - Everyone is waking up sore, but we are very grateful to wake up in a house with a roof, water, and electricity. We're planning to stay home and not use any gas. The gas lines (there was one 5 miles long in Mobile yesterday) appear to be caused by panic instead of a real shortage of gas. I saw a guy with over 300 gallons of gas tanks in his pickup truck. He will learn, as most boat owners have learned, that gas will go bad. In the mean time, this guy has prevented at least 10 families from getting the gas they need to get back home. There are a lot of families from Mississippi and Louisiana that are stuck in Mobile because they can't get gas. The Mayor of Mobile and the Governor of Alabama have shown strong leadership and are opening up facilities to house these families even as we are still cleaning up.
9/2/05 - 8:30PM - The curfew is now 10:30PM to dawn. The gas situation appears to be getting better as Mobile implemented a 20 gallon maximum. Our neighbors said that the only had to wait 1-1/2 hours for gas. We tried to help out the gas situation by bicycling to lunch and the grocery store. I just got notice from the US Coast Guard and they're making arrangements for fuel in Biloxi tomorrow. I can't participate now, but hope to get orders next weekend.
9/3/05 - 11:30PM - The curfew is now 11:00PM to dawn. I was able to get gas today with only a 15 minute wait. We (except for Kelly and Megan) spent much of today working at the Bayou La Batre (Real place where Forest Gump went shrimping) Community Center distributing food and water. This area was hit hard and just as in the Forest Gump movie, much of the shrimping fleet was destroyed. According to the paper, 1600 of the 2300 houses were destroyed. I am going back tomorrow and have asked a few other folks to join me. NOTE: If you are donating things for the hurricane survivors, please do not send clothes yet (other than socks and underwear). Food and baby items, especially diapers, are the critical items now and the clothes have to be pushed to the side for now to make sure that the folks can get food.
9/4/05 - 6:00PM - Spent all day working at the Bayou La Batre Community Center. Emily and Leslie came down with some of the friends for most of the day. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice came to the site and loaded two cars that I was directing. The press got in the way and shut us down for a short while. She seemed to notice and moved out of the way after the second car. The second car was this little, old lady that was overwhelmed by all of the press. I kept telling her to keep moving forward, but the press wouldn't move to let her get her food. We ran out of food and had to shut down about 4PM. There are supposed to be 5 trucks with supplies for Bayou La Batre that are stuck on I-65 near Montgomery. Tomorrow should bring plenty of food.
9/5/05 - 11:30AM - I'm getting ready to go back to work Tuesday and the girls are going back to school on Tuesday. We are all sore and have many cuts and bruises, but we are very thankful for coming through Hurricane Katrina so well. There is still a lot of work left to do and I will probably be in Mississippi this weekend, but we are very thankful that we are in a position to help others. The girls' school is now over capacity as the school has accepted refugees from Mississippi and Louisiana. Many folks have invited refugees into their homes and are taking care of them.
10/7/05 - 6:00PM - Our yard waste was hauled off today. (It only took 6 weeks) We can now say that at our house we are done cleaning up after Katrina. Mobile is still very busy with folks working in Mississippi. Many of them are working in Mississippi during the day and coming back to Mobile to spend the night. There are no hotel rooms available for the rest of the year and there is a long wait at most of the restaurants. We aren't complaining as we have made out pretty well. Many of the poor folks in Bayou La Batre are still living in tents. It will be a long road for them to recover.