By Alexandra Hedrick, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
City and county officials continue to make preparations for a possible incoming tropical storm despite a weakening of the storm.
At an Emergency Management Agency meeting Friday afternoon, Danny Manley, director of the EMA, updated local officials on the status of the storm and on his plans going forward.
Manley said winds could begin impacting the county late Saturday evening into early Sunday morning.
He said that Pearl River County won’t be declaring a state of emergency because even if the worst case scenario of the storm shifting direction north occurs, the county still will be able to handle any damage from that shift.
Manley said the highest wind impact he is expecting is 41 mph with very little chance of tornados or inland flooding.
“This thing has a lot working against it,” Manley said.
Manley said Pearl River County is not under any watches or warnings and that it is projected the county will receive about 2.5 inches of rain. The rain should cause no problems for the rivers or creeks in the county.
During a conference call with Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, Frank Ravitte with the National Weather Service New Orleans/Baton Rouge, said the 4 p.m. report on Friday showed significant intensity decreases in the storm from earlier in the day.
Ravitte said the Mississippi Gulf Coast has been downgraded from a hurricane watch to a tropical storm watch. He said due to the decrease in intensity, the National Weather Service has also decreased the expected storm surge.
Ravitte said the storm is very slow moving and has decreased in intensity, but he wouldn’t totally discount a more northern approach that would affect the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Manley said the road department is always on standby to handle any road problems and “I don’t see this (the tropical storm) as anything different.”
Tony Bounds, public relations officer for Pearl River County Emergency Management Agency, said the Emergency Management Agency has combined with the Road Department on Facebook to bring residents in the county up to date information regarding the storm, road closures and road work.
The Facebook page name changed since joining with the Road Department to Pearl River County EOC and Roads.
The Facebook page is updated with storm information from the National Hurricane Center and local information from both Emergency Management Agency office and Road Department.
“In preparation for the storm, Karen, we have all our workers on call for the weekend, have generators for all the lift stations so that we don’t lose capacity,” said Jay Carli, safety and asset manager for the Pearl River Utility Authority.
Carli said the utility authority has an emergency program in place and reviewed the plan with crew members Friday.
He said there are generators for all lift stations to keep pumps and bypasses working regardless of the damage. The utility authority also has a generator for each grinder pump in the Hide-A-Way Lake subdivision to make sure no customers are affected, Carli said.