Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav: Mississippi-Warnings and Evacuations

It's almost 6:00am. My weather radio just went off and it was what we on the coast have been expecting since this past Wednesday: We're under a hurricane warning.

What is odd about the warnings is they extend east out of the cone of uncertainty.

I had to work yesterday. There's still more to do, so I'll be going in today as well. My son has been doing a lot of the preparations around the house. The only thing left is to pick-up stuff around the yard that can become airborne.

Though the tracking models show a predicted landfall in Louisiana west of the Mississippi River, local officials in Mississippi are taking no chances.

Harrison County(where I live), has ordered a mandatory evacuation for those living in Zones A & B. This link provides maps for Zones A, B, & C.

I'm concerned about the timing of the evacuation orders. At 4:30am, contra-flow plans were instituted for those evacuating New Orleans. I-55 and I-59 in Mississippi will only allow traffic going north. The south lanes will be used for going north.

Harrison County is also opening shelters today.

For those who do not have transportation, the Coast Transit Authority has pick-up points to staging areas. For those who cannot make it to one of the staging areas, for Harrison County, call 228-896-8080. Jackson County residents can call 228-769-3111 and Hancock County residents can call 228-466-8201.

The casinos will be closing at 7:00am.

Hurricane Katrina taught Mississippi many lessons. Even before the official warnings, steps have been executed this past week . One was making sure all the containers at the Port of Gulfport were brought inland. If the worst does come to pass, there will not be the specter of tons of rotting chicken and pork in Gulfport neighborhoods. Those containers will not slam into homes.

Many homes and businesses were boarded up days ago. Fear is a great motivator. That cone of uncertainty may shift further east as the day wears on. We in Mississippi are not taking any chances.

The Humane Society is offering to board pets fort hose evacuating.

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