Cleanup and recovery from Mother Nature's worst beating is underway everywhere in Hancock County. As construction crews repair gutted buildings, and debris haulers clear Beach Boulevard there is little time to think of more storms. But if predictions are on the mark, the next year could be another brutal one.
"Just a few months from now it's going to be hurricane season again, so we have to prepare. We have to if we get a storm of this magnitude," Hancock County Emergency Management Director Brian Adam says.
Adam says they have to prepare better and learn from Katrina. No one knew the devastation that storm would bring, but Adam says it creates challenges for the next season: Getting the Bay bridge back in service, improving emergency communications with a backup system and opening more shelters. Right now in all of Hancock County there is just one Red Cross approved shelter.
"My biggest hope is, one, that we're well on the way to recovery from Katrina. Two, to make sure our communications, and the main thing our shelters [are ready] for the people if we do have a storm cause we have to make sure our people are safe."
Adam also wants people to listen to evacuation calls.
"We only had 53 deaths, and I know that's a lot, but it's a lot less than probably most people thought. We want to make sure people heed our evacuation warnings and I think they will now," he says.
He also hopes the next storm season will bring better communication between him and the emergency management directors in Jackson and Harrison Counties.