Hi all … first off, thank you so much for your great response to my first weather blog! I am encouraged with the fantastic questions and e-mails I received over the last few days. Please keep them coming.
This week’s blog is a little more serious, as we remember the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina — one of the deadliest and the costliest hurricanes in the history of our country. I was here at FOX covering Katrina when it first formed on August 23, 2005, and made a second landfall along the Gulf Coast on August 29.
I remember feeling so helpless every time I would go on-air and deliver the forecast, showing that hurricane track moving right into the vulnerable Louisiana coastline. Countless articles predicted that a major hurricane hitting New Orleans could bring complete devastation, due to its below sea-level location and its “bowl-like” shape, surrounded by the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain. The city was at the mercy of levees, canals and pumps to keep them dry.
Then those images burned in our memories of all those people lined up to get into the Superdome — all those people lined up, not knowing if they would have homes hours later to return to.
I remember how hard it was to keep it together live on-air — tears welling up before the anchor asked me about the forecast and not knowing how to tell people this could be one of the worst and catastrophic storms we had ever witnessed. And then, after the storm hit, I felt so relieved when early reports showed New Orleans had “dodged a bullet” … only to be shocked and horrified hours afterwards when we found out the flood protection system in New Orleans had failed.
Nearly every levee in metro New Orleans was breached. About 80 percent of the city was flooded and many areas of neighboring parishes for weeks and weeks. The pictures of the devastation across the entire Mississippi Coast and into Alabama were unbearable — they forever ingrained city names like Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian, Long Beach, Gulfport, Biloxi, Ocean Springs and Pascagoula into our memories.
When I lived in Houston, my friends and I used to go every year to Jazz Fest in New Orleans. It was an annual get-together for us to have fun in the French Quarter and get to hear some amazing live music. I have such fondness for that city. It was one of the few places where you could just dance and sing in the streets, and no one would bat an eyelash. I went to Jazz Fest that year after Katrina hit and got to see, in person, what had happened to one of my favorite cities. It was a tough thing to witness, and I can only imagine how those who lived there coped with the aftermath — and still do to this day. Talking to the locals, you couldn’t help but see the weariness and sadness around them, but I also saw the hope that someday they might be able to bring back what was lost to them by a storm named Katrina. The spirit is certainly there to try and fix what was broken or lost.
It’s hard to remember what life was like before Katrina. My thoughts and prayers are with all those that were affected that day, weeks and months later. Two years later, we remember and shall never forget.
Janice Dean is a meteorologist for FNC. To read more of her bio, please click here.
Janice Dean is senior meteorologist for Fox News Channel. She is author of two children's books about weather. Her latest is "Freddy the Frogcaster and the Terrible Tornado" (Regnery 2016). Click here for more information on Janice Dean.