Hancock braces for tropical storm
By Dwayne Bremer
Oct 5, 2013, 00:21
Although Tropical Storm Karen weakened some on Friday, local and state emergency officials urged residents to take the storm seriously and pay attention to the weather.
"Everyone needs to prepare for this," Mississippi Emergency Management Director Robert Latham said Friday. "The state is here with our resources if needed, but it is up to the people to enact their own plan and be responsible."
By press time Friday, Karen was a moderate tropical storm, packing winds of 50 miles per hour. The National Weather Service had also downgraded the Hurricane Watch to a Tropical Storm Watch.
Hancock County Emergency Operations Director Brian Adam said Friday that Hancock County can expect two-to-four inches of rain, elevated tides, and 20 to 30 mhp winds.
Officials said residents in low-lying areas need to be aware of the potential for rising water.
"If you have flooded before, than you can expect to flood again," Latham said. "Get out before we have to get you out."
Latham said MEMA has sent a boat-rescue team to Hancock County, along with other officials, equipment, and the national guard.
Adam said he is hopeful that Hancock County does not get the brunt of Karen.
"Right now, we do not know exactly when and where Karen is going to make landfall," he said. "Residents should not pay attention to where the center is because effects will be felt across the Coast."
Adam said he expects Hancock County to begin feeling the effects of the storm on Saturday afternoon and they could linger for up to 18 hours.
Adam said the EOC will remain open until the storm is completely gone from the area. He said residents with any questions about the storm or Hancock County's resources, can call 228-466-8320.
At 11:30 a.m. Friday, the city of Bay St. Louis declared a state of emergency, in case the storm strengthens again or changes direction.
"Right now, we think the worst of it is going to be higher tides, maybe three-to-five feet above normal ...," Mayor Les Fillingame said. "I don't think we will have a lot of wind-driven clean-up, but we're going to be ready, just in case."
By declaring a state of emergency, the city will be eligible for assistance from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, should the need arise.
"The good news is," Fillingame said, "the storm is bringing beautiful weather behind it. It ought to be perfect for Cruisin' the Coast."