Curfew to remain in effect until Thursday morning at 6

Biloxi Police Chief John Miller says the city’s curfew will be in the effect for the remainder of the night, and will probably be lifted Thursday morning at 6.

“We’ll be falling right back in line with the county, because they plan on imposing a curfew from 8 tonight to 6 tomorrow morning,” said Miller, who had consulted with Sheriff Melvin Brisolara.

Although Harrison County had suspended its countywide curfew today at noon, Biloxi remained under curfew because many low-lying streets in east Biloxi and all of U.S. 90 remained impassible because of high water and debris generated by Hurricane Isaac.

Biloxi Public Works crews, meantime, have used heavy equipment to clear debris and downed tree limbs from major thoroughfares and neighborhood streets. Said Public Works Director Richard Sullivan: “They’ve been at it since Tuesday, non-stop.”

City crews will begin clearing the 8.2-mile stretch of U.S. 90 in Biloxi in the next hour, but in east Biloxi, from Holley Street to the Biloxi Bay Bridge, the roadway remains under water.

Chief Miller, meantime, said the debris, high winds and water have been the primary factors for keeping the curfew in force in Biloxi.

“In the last little while, we’re beginning to see the water subside a little, but we don’t want to assume it’s not going to come up quickly,” Miller said at 4 p.m. “If the water subsides substantially, we’ll lift our curfew, but we don’t see that happening right now.”

Miller said the curfew is designed to keep motorists and sightseers off debris-strewn roads and out of winds that are still gusting at tropical force. Additionally, it helps officers patrol closed businesses and evacuated homes.

“We’ve also arrested several people and charged them with looting, which carries a 15-year sentence since we’re in a state of emergency,” the chief said. “We’re out in force, and if you’re stealing, you’re going to go to jail.”

Since 6 a.m. Tuesday to 4 p.m. Wednesday, a 34-hour period, Biloxi Police have answered 520 calls for service, nearly double the 260 calls called handled in a in a routine 24-hour period.

“A call for service is anything that takes up a police officer’s time,” Miller said. “That includes a rescue, which we’ve had a few of those, a burglar alarm, an automobile accident, or a domestic disturbance, and we’ve also had a few of those over the past 24 hours.”

Overall, the chief said, he’s pleased with the way officers and the public have responded.

“I think the headline is ‘Planning paid off.’ I am not aware of one life that has been lost in this storm in Biloxi, and I think that’s a tribute to having a plan and working that plan.”

Biloxi Public Schools have no classes Thursday

Public schools in Biloxi will not have classes Thursday, so neither students nor teachers should report. Classes will resume Friday, however.

Said Superintendent Arthur McMillan: “We’ve been to every school today, and everything seems to be OK.”

Non-emergency city workers off Thursday, too

Mayor A.J. Holloway said he had no plans to call in non-emergency city employees on Thursday. Non-emergency workers should expect to report to work Friday at their usual time.

Municipal water is OK to drink

The city’s water supply is OK to drink, says Public Works Director Richard Sullivan. “We’ve gotten a few calls from people who wanted to know if the water was OK, and it is. We never suffered any interruption of service at any of our water wells, and, just in case we did, we had made sure to top off all of our elevated storage tanks.”

The latest on Tropical Storm Isaac

Current conditions: To see the current conditions for Biloxi, from the National Weather Service, click here.

Weather service track: To see the current position of the storm and forecasted track, click here.

Live Gulf radar: To see real-time radar showing the northern Gulf of Mexico, click here.