City advises preparations for Bonnie; other news and notes

Residents of Biloxi could begin seeing periods of gusty winds and rain beginning Saturday afternoon, increasing through the evening until Sunday morning when Tropical Storm Bonnie is expected to come ashore Sunday around 7 a.m. along the western portion of the Mississippi coast.

City Emergency Manager Linda Atterberry briefed department heads during a meeting at City Hall shortly before noon. At Atterberry’s suggestion, the City Council this afternoon will be asked to declare a state of emergency in Biloxi, authorizing the mayor to take any necessary action in preparing for the storm.

Port Division Manager Frankie Duggan is suggesting that vessel owners consider re-locating their vessels from public harbors and marinas to waters less susceptible to the high winds and tides.

The center of Tropical Storm Bonnie was inland over the southern Florida peninsula at 1 this afternoon, moving toward the west-northwest near 18 mph. Maximum sustained winds remain near 40 mph, with higher gusts. Some slight strengthening is possible when the cyclone moves over the Gulf late tonight and Saturday.

“I suspect this storm will be more of a nuisance than anything else,” Atterberry said. “However, we are advising the public to continue to monitor reports. Secure any loose items in the yard, take care of your pets, etc. Have a storm kit, have a storm plan that includes your evacuation plans and so forth.”
There are currently no plans to open any storm shelters, Atterberry said. “Emergency managers will continue meeting periodically over the next several hours and we’ll pass along any revised warnings as needed,” she added.” Right now, we’re merely advising people to take the prudent steps.”

What you should be doing: To read advice on what to do before, during and after a storm, click here.

Latest advisory: The National Hurricane Center, which has issued a storm warning for large areas of the Gulf Coast, released its latest advisory on TS Bonnie at 1 this afternoon. To read it, click here.

Tropical storm probabilities: To see the probabilities of sustained tropical storm force winds over the next 120 hours, click here.

CNN highlights Biloxi restoration efforts

Biloxi’s efforts in restoring city-owned historic properties are the subject of a report airing nationally on CNN today.

Correspondent Tom Foreman, as part of the CNN Building Up America series, interviewed Mayor A.J. Holloway and city historic administrator Bill Raymond about the city’s progress in restoring such sites as the Old Brick House, the Magnolia Hotel, City Hall and the Biloxi Lighthouse.

“We talked about the importance of historic preservation and of restoring communities after something as devastating as Katina,” Raymond said of the two-minute segment. “They looked at why you would spend $3 million to restore properties like these. And the answer is that you have to look past the immediate needs. You have to look down the road. Once people begin moving back, they need that sense of place, they need that individuality that our historic buildings give our community. These things, which make Biloxi such a special place, are also important to tourism.”

See it now: CNN began airing the Biloxi segment this morning. To see it online now, click here.

Hear it now: Bill Raymond also discusses progress on the city’s myriad historic properties on this week’s City Desk webcast. To listen to the 18-minute program, click here.

News and notes

Town Green movie tonight: Biloxi Main Street, the city and Beau Rivage will host an outdoor showing of the kids movie “Madagascar 2 — Escape2 Africa” this evening at 6 on the Biloxi Town Green. The showing, part of the drive-in movie series, will include a “safari scavenger hunt” with prizes, and a concession stand manned by Biloxi Police Explorers. Admission is one can or bag of pet food for the Humane Society of South Mississippi. Details: (228) 435-6339. To see other events scheduled to take place this weekend, click here.

Council agenda: To see the agenda for Tuesday’s City Council meeting, click here.