City of Picayune preparing for a category one hurricane

Published 7:00 am Friday, October 6, 2017

City leaders are preparing for what is expected to be a category one hurricane that is expected to make landfall over the weekend.

Forecasts have the storm potentially affecting residents in Picayune and Pearl River County by Saturday evening.

Department heads with the city of Picayune held a preparatory meeting Thursday afternoon to layout a game plan in case the storm’s path does bring it to the area.

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Fire Chief Keith Brown said the storm is currently moving at about 15 miles per hour, which makes it a fast storm. If that momentum continues when it makes landfall off the Gulf Coast, then the effects of the rains should be minimized. However, rainfall totals are projected to be between five to six inches, with isolated areas possibly receiving as much as 12 inches, depending on where the storm strikes. Brown said that while any flooding that may occur should be minimal, he advised residents to be prepared.

Barricades will be situated across the city in case road flooding occurs, which typically takes place at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Brookdale Drive and Fern Drive, said Public Works Director Eric Morris.

To ensure city storm drains function properly, Morris said he will have crews out cleaning them before the storm arrives.

City employees will also prepare to hand out sandbags, if the path of the storm does look as though Picayune will take a hit. Morris said that each home will receive a maximum of 10 sandbags. There is the possibility of satellite sandbag stations being set up across the city as well. If those sites are needed, they will be set up at the corner of Kendrick Lane and Beech Street, Mildred Mitchell Park on Sycamore Road, the corner of Blanks Avenue and Baylous Street and at Pinewood Drive.

An announcement about the availability of the sand bags will take place Friday.

There has been no word so far as to whether contraflow will be established through Pearl River County. Brown and Police Chief Bryan Dawsey said they have not received a request for contraflow by Thursday afternoon.

All city employees will be on call starting Friday.

In terms of city offices being prepared, all generators have been tested and fueled at each department and the city’s water wells and the staff is ready to respond to needs as they arise.

Brown said that while the storm is projected to be a category one, there is still the possibility of power lines being knocked down.