UPDATE — Schools, city prepare for Ida

Published 8:53 pm Monday, November 9, 2009

Residents of Pearl River and Hancock Counties should be prepared for the effects of Hurricane Ida, which by press time is expect to be a tropical storm when it makes landfall Tuesday.

Picayune, Pearl River County and Hancock County schools are preparing for the storm, with closures so far only reported in Hancock County for Monday afternoon.

Picayune and Pearl River County schools plan to hold classes all day Monday and Tuesday, said Picayune superintendent Dean Shaw and Pearl River County superintendent Dennis Penton. Hancock County School District Public Relations Director Cathy Wilson said Hancock County Schools will be holding a 60 percent day Monday. Plans for Tuesday are still being discussed and will be released Monday afternoon.

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Hancock Elementary schools were dismissed at 11:30, Middle schools will be dismissed at 12:30 p.m. and High Schools will be dismissed at 12:40 p.m. on Monday.

Poplarville School District Superintendent Carl Merrit said so far school functions in the city are expected to take place as normal. He said he has been in contact with the county’s Emergency Management Office and indications at press time were that the area would receive some rain and some wind gusts. Unless the storm changes course or severity school in Poplarville will resume as normal on Tuesday.

All reporting school districts said they will be monitoring the storm’s path and plan accordingly.

Picayune’s Fire Department is not expecting any flooding from the storm but is preparing to distribute sand bags if they are needed. Fire Chief Keith Brown said the sand bags are ready to go, but will only be distributed if there is a need.

A meeting held with local officials and the national weather service Monday morning reported to Brown that Pearl River County might see some effects of Ida, but nothing major.

Other efforts city wide will be to ensure staff are prepared, drains are cleaned out and shutters are put on city hall.

“Everything’s good to go and we’re getting geared up in case it does turn,” Brown said.

Shaw asks parents to keep updated via local media, including radio and television in case the current plan to keep schools open Tuesday changes.