HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – As the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, leaders with the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) said neighbors should have a plan in place before a hurricane hits the state.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been 16 years since Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, changing countless residents’ lives forever,” said Commissioner Tom King, Southern Transportation District. “Let this anniversary serve as a reminder to never let your guard down when it comes to a tropical storm or hurricane; get prepared today.”
Katrina made landfall as a category three hurricane on August 29, 2005, along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, leaving behind destruction and a significant loss of life. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), 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 ready 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 NEIGHBORS prepare their evacuation plans, MDOT provides free resources including the MDOT Traffic mobile app, a hurricane evacuation kit checklist, and the 2021 MDOT Hurricane Evacuation Guide in English, Spanish or Vietnamese.