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Today Is The 5th Anniversary of Hurricane Gustav

Early in the morning on September 1, 2008, Labor Day, Hurricane Gustav made landfall near Cocodrie, LA.  It was a strong category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds.  At one point, right before Gustav made landfall over Western Cuba, winds were as high as 150 mph (Category 4).  It did weaken as it crossed Cuba, but did regain strength as it sat in the middle of the Gulf as it became a Category 3 storm with winds of 115 mph.  This storm became the worst one ever to impact Baton Rouge, LA.  Sustained winds around 70 mph with a 91 mph wind gust was reported at Baton Rouge Metro Airport, 108 and 117 mph wind gusts were reported in Houma, LA.  That caused significant damage and, at one point, the entire city of Baton Rouge was without power.

Hurricane Gustav moved slowly inland and the eastern-edge of the eye wall moved along the Mississippi River into Baton Rouge.  It continued northward through West Feliciana & Pointe Coupee Parishes.  The worst damage was seen along this line.  Areas from Nicholson Drive, to Burbank, to Highland and other roads that connect to those saw some of the worst of all the damage.  Numerous trees and power lines were down.  This caused the massive power outage across the city.  I remember driving into work at 2 AM the next day and it was completely dark!  You could not even see you hand in front of your face!!  Some people were without power for weeks - I lost power for 9 days.  Let me tell you, getting up early for work without power and taking a very cold shower isn't fun, but it does wake you up!!  Supplies were limited at first, but we were finally able to get extra relief into town.

Fortunately, it didn't get too hot after the storm.  Gustav continued to move slowly to the north and spread showers and storms over Baton Rouge for days.  Rainfall totals ranged from 8.15" in the City of Livingston, LA to 11.22" in Brusly, LA according to the NWS Baton Rouge/New Orleans Office.  This helped to keep the temperatures down, but it did lead to some flooding on the local rivers.  Plus, the storm surge around 6-10 feet was reported along the SE Louisiana and Mississippi Coasts.  That lead to inland flooding, but the levees held in New Orleans.  Some of the water sloshed over the levees, but they all held!

Needless to say, Gustav went down as the worst storm ever to impact Baton Rouge.  It was worse than Andrew, which did do significant damage as well.  Hopefully, you learned a few things from the storm - mainly to be prepared for days without power, and have enough supplies to last that long.

For more information on Hurricane Gustav, check out the NWS Baton Rouge/New Orleans' Gustav page.

We have recovered for Gustav, but we know that someday we will have to deal with another storm.  Please always be prepared for whenever the next one will arrive.  -Dave


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