Gilich: Wrap up your preparations now
Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich met with key department heads this morning for an update on storm preparations in city departments and divisions.
Said Gilich after the meeting: "We're asking people to do the same things that we're doing: Make the preparations. Secure your property. Monitor the weather reports, have a hurricane kit and supplies to last you three or four days."
The slow-moving Tropical Storm Sally was about 165 miles southeast of Biloxi, with tropical-force winds extending 125 miles out from center of storm. The storm is expected to make landfall Tuesday morning and slowly move north-northeast on Tuesday and Wednesday. Winds are now at 65 mph.
On the eight-mile stretch of Biloxi beachfront, water in some areas was already half way to U.S. 90. Those areas of U.S. 90 expected to be inundated initially are near Miramar Avenue, Pine Street and other low-lying areas.
"All preparations for this storm needs to be completed no later than 6 p.m. today," Gilich said. "The winds and tides are going to be picking up throughout the afternoon."
Biloxi and the surrounding area are under hurricane and storm surge warnings, meaning conditions are imminent. A flash flood watch also is in effect.
"Because this is a slow-moving storm, one of the concerns is the amount of rainfall," Biloxi Emergency Manager Nick Geiser told Gilich and department directors and managers. "We could be looking at 24 hours of rain. We anticipate a storm surge of 7 to 11 feet, and this storm is expected to cover two high-tide cycles, which adds another couple of feet of water.
"We expect flooding along the rivers and bays. Those folks who live along the rivers and in other low-lying areas should plan accordingly. We could also experience power outages because of the heavy winds."
Sally news & notes
U.S. 90 signals: Expect to see U.S. 90 traffic signals placed in the flashing mode sometime this afternoon. Signalized intersections will have blinking red for all traffic at U.S. 90, meaning the intersections should be treated as four-way stops. Drive cautiously when approaching signalized intersections.
Council meetings: The Biloxi City Council is expected to meet this morning at 11. The council is expected to declare a state of emergency, and councilmembers also will take up the agenda for a meeting that had been scheduled for Tuesday.
Debris: Crowder-Gulf, the city's standby FEMA-approved debris contractor, has been notified to be prepared to immediately clear thoroughfares after winds have subsided.
RV parks: City personnel today will be notifying vulnerable RV parks that RVs must be evacuated to safer locations.
Splash pads: All four of the city's splash pads have temporarily closed because of expected weather conditions.
Biloxi VA: The Biloxi VA reports that the Hiller Park gate will close at 6 p.m. today and will remain closed until the storm passes. If you have any questions as to how your care is impacted, call 228-523-5000 or use My HealtheVet Secure Messaging to communicate online with your VA health care team. Follow the VA at facebook.com/VAGulfCoast
B-Alert: Stay in the know about road closures, road re-openings, and other traffic advisories by signing up for B-Alert. It's a real-time, on-the-go messaging system that brings advisories directly to your cell phone. Just text BILOXI to 888777. Don't give your email address unless you prefer emails instead of texts.