Keesler Air Force Base has been a fixture on the Mississippi Gulf Coast since the 1940s, and in the last six decades it has weathered the many storms that have made landfall in the area. Hurricanes are the most visible and violent natural phenomena in the Gulf Coast region, and here at Keesler they are serious business. The last major storm in the region, Hurricane Katrina, caused massive damage on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, leaving 236 people dead, 67 missing, causing an estimated $125 billion in damages. Keesler Air Force Base suffered nearly $1 billion in damages alone. While all hurricanes are detected before landfall, with their general trajectories and intensities known to some degree, no amount of scientific measurements or satellite imagery can predict their exact movement or the amount of destruction their wind and water will cause.
Faced with this uncertainty and armed with the knowledge that our hurricane experience has brought, Keesler Air Force Base has a set of recommendations when the probability of a hurricane impacting our region is imminent. Being prepared for an emergency in the case of a hurricane landfall, with the subsequent loss of basic necessities such as electricity and water, is of most importance. Mapping out an evacuation route to safer inland areas when faced with the possible catastrophic effects of a storm in low-lying areas should be on everyone's mind. Making sure you know when and where to shelter when deemed necessary by the 81st Training Wing commander, and what to bring to make your stay bearable is necessary for mission-essential personnel. And finally, once the storm has passed, knowing what to do in the midst of the recovery from a storm is essential.
The information and links on the following pages are provided in the hope it will help the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Keesler Air Force Base, and surrounding areas successfully cope with the effects and aftermath of the next hurricane.