After crossing the tip of the Louisiana marshlands, Hurricane Katrina made her second landfall in Hancock County. The eye of this storm was 25 miles wide. Hurricane Katrina's 140 mph winds and 28-foot storm surge devastated the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast. Hurricane force winds and tornadoes cut a swath of destruction over 200 miles inland.
As the storm surge worked its way up the Back Bay of Biloxi, Plant Watson in Gulfport was flooded with an estimated 16 million gallons of brackish water. About 80 employees were temporarily trapped during the storm in the upper level of the operationally destroyed powerhouse. Fortunately, due to mandatory evacuation, no one was stationed at the General Office across from the Port of Gulfport. A 28-foot wall of water crossed the threshold of the building, filling elevator shafts and the lower level of the building.
By the time Katrina's winds and storm surge finally subsided, 235 Mississippians had lost their lives. Every customer in the 23-county Mississippi Power service area was without power. Many along the Coast were without homes.
Katrina destroyed homes and livelihoods, but could not destroy the spirit of resilient Mississippians.