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Remember storms by preparing for future

Mississippi is marking two hurricane-related anniversaries this month. Aug. 17 was the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Camille’s landfall.

The category 5 storm made landfall near Waveland — it remains the second strongest hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. More than 100 Mississippians died in the storm. The Coast was forever changed.

“Camille was a devastating hurricane that affected the lives of thousands of people with nearly 300 lives lost,” MEMA Executive Director Greg Michel said. “But, through tragedy comes wisdom.  We learned a lot from that tragedy and how to better prepare for and survive the awesome power of mother nature.”

The lessons from Camille were put to the test decades later when Katrina struck. On Aug. 29, 2005, the storm made landfall. It swamped the Coast with walls of water, beat South Mississippi with torrential wind and rain and caused more than 200 deaths in Mississippi. The death toll was much greater elsewhere.

Southwest Mississippi faced days of flooding, downed trees, power outages and gas shortages. The devastation was widespread throughout the state.

As we mark the anniversaries of these deadly storms, we should do so with an eye to the future. Both storms taught emergency responders and residents valuable lessons about the dangers of wind and water.

The Mississippi Dept. of Transportation is urging residents to mark this month’s anniversaries by not only remembering the past but also being prepared this hurricane season.

MDOT recommends that all residents have a hurricane survival kit. That kit should contain:

• drinking water

• water for cooking and hygiene

• water for pets

• non-perishable packaged or canned foods

• special food for babies or the elderly

• cooler

• flash lights

• batteries

• waterproof matches

• towels

• cleaning supplies

• blankets

• extra cash

• prescription drugs

• first aid kit

• garbage bags