01 September, 2008

Gustav: all sound, some fury

Gustav didn't exactly spare southern Mississippi. The coast was flooded by a storm surge, power has gone out in many locations, and the National Weather Service reported quite a few tornados in the area, many with visual confirmation. One may have passed near my residence, or it may not. WDAM maddened me by reporting a possible tornado that had Hattiesburg in its sights; after reporting that it had the potential to impact 66,000 residents, they subsequently broadcast an interview of the Jones County Emergency Poobah something-or-other. It was maddening, and came after hours of nothing but weather news. I don't know of anything happening around here, and the Hattiesburg American isn't reporting anything, so apparently it was one of those sky tornadoes that rotates in the clouds without deigning to descend.

Of course, I could just be hyperventilating. I tend to do that sometimes. I saw some teenage neighbors pass those very same minutes jumping noisily into a giant puddle that had formed in their front yard. Oh, well.

What has been providential for southern Mississippi has been disastrous for southern Louisiana. The scale of the damage there likely isn't known, so it's a little early to breathe the sigh of relief that I see many people doing. The urban/rural divide makes it harder to report on rural Louisiana, just as it made it harder to report the effects of Katrina in Mississippi. There are many parts of southern Mississippi that still have not recovered from the storm: emtpy slabs bereft of houses that once gazed over the Gulf line Highway 90 in Gulfport. I hope the media won't neglect rural Louisiana.

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