Coastal Hazard Outreach Strategy Team (C-HOST) members Mike Edwards (Gulfport), left, Rick Stickler (Biloxi), Kelly Henderson (Harrison County), Terry Franklin (Ocean Springs), Kristin Greger (Biloxi), Theresa Hydrick (Harrison County) and and Tracie Sempier (Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant) unveiled on of Biloxi's high water markers Aug. 28 outside the Biloxi Visitors Center.
Today, marking the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, over 30 city, county and federal representatives gathered in Biloxi for a brief ceremony to unveil one of 17 Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Camille high water markers that are being placed in Mississippi communities from Waveland to Ocean Springs.
At each site, there are three colored markers. Red shows the high water mark for Hurricane Katrina. Blue shows the high water from Hurricane Camille. Black marks the base flood elevation (how high water is expected rise in a large storm event).
The markers were coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant and the Coastal Hazard Outreach Strategy Team (C-HOST), a regional outreach team that consists of representatives from 12 coastal communities.
“We all worked together over a two-year period to get these markers approved through each jurisdiction” said Mike Edwards, City of Gulfport floodplain manager and current C-HOST chairperson. Biloxi, Gulfport, Ocean Springs, Long Beach, Waveland, D’Iberville and Harrison County are participating in the program.
Two plaques are placed side by side at the Biloxi Visitors Center on U.S. 90. One plaque shows the 17 high water mark community marker locations. The other plaque reads:
“Both storms brought about great devastation and loss of life to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005 at 10:00 am. The storm surge level at this location was 22 feet above mean sea level, with reported waves reaching 34.1 feet. There was approximately 125 billion dollars of damage to the coast, leaving 236 people dead and 67 missing. Hurricane Camille made landfall on August 17, 1969 at about 11:30 pm. The storm surge level at this location was 19.5 feet. There was approximately 1.5 billion dollars of damage to the coast leaving 131 dead and 41 missing.”
“The markers are designed to bring awareness to how high the water levels actually were,” said Kristin Greger, Biloxi’s Community Rating System coordinator and C-HOST member. “Because it has been 10 years since Katrina, people tend to forget and become complacent.”
These reminders of how high waters have risen in past storms illustrate how much residents and communities need to prepare for future storms.
“The most important thing is to know your base flood elevation,” said Rick Stickler, Biloxi’s floodplain manager.
In some locations, the base flood elevation is far below Katrina’s storm surge. Buildings built at the base flood elevation would not be expected to survive another major storm in those locations.
The markers can illustrate the benefit of building higher in preparation for future storms.
High Water Mark Community Marker Locations
- 427 U.S. Hwy. 90, Waveland
- 335 Coleman Ave., Waveland
- 301 Coleman Ave., Waveland
- 125 North Beach Blvd., Waveland
- 87 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Pass Christian
- 701 S Cleveland Ave., Long Beach
- 720 S Cleveland Ave., Long Beach
- 1177 20th Ave., Gulfport
- 96 Courthouse Road, Gulfport
- 2375 Beach Blvd., Biloxi
- 1669 Beach Blvd., Biloxi
- 1050 Beach Blvd., Biloxi
- 10383 Automall Parkway, D’Iberville
- 3366 Bayshore Drive, D’Iberville
- 710 Beach Blvd., Biloxi
- 115 1st St., Biloxi
- 1705 Harbor Drive, Ocean Springs
More photos of the event are available on our Facebook page.