People in Mississippi’s coastal counties need to prepare for strong winds and heavy rain from a system that’s projected to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday as either a Category 1 hurricane or a tropical storm, state emergency officials said Thursday.
Tropical Storm Karen is swirling in the Gulf of Mexico with a hurricane watch from Grand Isle, La., to Indian Pass in the Florida Panhandle. The area includes Mississippi’s entire coastline
“Now is the time for people to review their emergency plans in case conditions worsen,” Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said.
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Robert Latham said: “I think it’s critical for folks to not focus on the center of the forecast cone because these storms don’t always follow that line. We prepare as though we will get the worst conditions and I think the public should do the same.”
People who live in flood-prone areas should think about where they’ll go if ordered to evacuate, MEMA spokesman Greg Flynn said. South Mississippi residents, particularly along the coast, should make sure they have supplies in case power goes out, he said.
Todd Kelly, a spokesman for the Mississippi High School Activities Association, said schools would make their own decisions about whether to postpone Friday night football games and other competitions. He said district games would be made up later, but non-district games might be canceled.
Cruisin’ the Coast, an eight-day event with concerts and parades and other events with classic cars, is scheduled to start Sunday in Gulfport. Its director, Woody Bailey, said more than 7,000 vehicles are expected, and he’s hoping rain and wind will be an inconvenience rather than a destructive force during the weekend.
“We feel like by Monday, the weather will be great Chamber of Commerce-type weather for everybody to enjoy,” Bailey said Thursday.
In 2012, people from 41 states, Canada and Sweden participated in Cruisin’ the Coast.
Latham said in a news release that tourists who aren’t accustomed to tropical weather should prepare.
“We want to make sure everyone takes proper precautions before they set up any type of equipment like tents and campers,” he said. “It doesn’t take much wind to lift those type things.”