City suggests evacuation of low-lying areas

Those in low-lying areas who feel vulnerable from the threatening weather should evacuate to higher ground, with friends, family or even in a storm shelter, the city is advising. 

“We’re asking people to be prudent and safe,” Biloxi Fire Chief Nick Geiser said this afternoon. “The forecast is for the storm to grow into a Category 4 Major Hurricane, and we can expect to see a lot of rain, as much as 16 inches, and a storm surge that is forecast to be as high as 11 feet in some areas. Winds could gust up to hurricane strength. There will be street flooding.

“The level of the threat is based on where you live,” Geiser added. “Those on the rivers usually know how to handle this situation, but our message is for those in low-lying areas who feel vulnerable. If in doubt, get out.”

Hurricane Ida, with sustained winds of 100 mph, is now about 290 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi and moving northwest at 16 mph. Impacts are expected to begin this evening and continue all day Sunday and into Monday.

Harrison County announced earlier today that public beaches are closed and hurricane shelters are opening this afternoon and evening. Coast Transit provides rides to shelters to those who call 228-896-8080. Traffic signals will be in the flashing mode and travel should be limited to necessary trips.

“This storm poses a serious threat wherever it makes landfall, and we’re asking people to take heed,” Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said. “Just because you hear a Louisiana landfall, we will still feel the impact to an extent.”

“By now,” Fire Chief Geiser said this afternoon, “we would hope that everyone has done the things they need to do, picking up loose items in the yard or outside your business. People have just a few hours to wrap up preparations. Make sure that you have a storm kit, and be aware that electricity service could be interrupted.

“For those who must travel, traffic signals are going to be transitioning to the flashing mode, so drivers should be extra careful when they approach an intersection.”

Biloxi Port Division Manager Larry Sablich said all vessels — save one — have moved from Biloxi’s public harbors and marinas. Said Sablich: “We appreciate the cooperation from everyone and the last one should be out shortly.”
See the latest on Ida
Reminder on how to prepare

Harrison County shelter info

Three Harrison County shelters opened at 3 this afternoon: County Farm Road Shelter (pet accommodations), 15038 County Farm Road, Gulfport; Lobouy Road Shelter, 9505 Lobouy Road, Pass Christian; Saucier Lizana Road Shelter, 23771 Saucier Lizana Road, Saucier.

Three other shelters will open at 6 this evening: D’Iberville High School Shelter, 15625 Lamey Bridge Road, Biloxi; West Harrison High School Shelter, 10399 County Farm Road, Gulfport; Harrison Central High School Shelter (pet accommodations), 15600 School Road, Gulfport.

Things to keep in mind at a shelter

Masks are required at shelters.

Individuals evacuating to a shelter should bring essential items for each member of their family:

– Prescription and emergency medication

– Foods that meet special dietary requirements

– Blankets, pillows, extra clothing, hygiene supplies and other comfort items

– Chargers for electronic devices

– Books, games and other forms of entertainment

A word about pets

Pet accommodations are at the County Farm Road and Harrison Central High School shelters, the county announced. Pets will not be in the main shelter area, but in a nearby safe location. Pets must remain in a carrier/kennel. Owners are responsible for feeding, watering, and medicating pets during the sheltering period, and owners must provide food and any medications for pets.

Need a ride?

Coast Transit Authority will provide transportation to shelters from 3 to 7 p.m. today. Call CTA at 228-896-8080 to schedule a ride.

Be in the know

The city passes along timely information through its Facebook page and text messaging system. See the Facebook page here, and sign up for text alerts by texting BILOXI to 99411.