Flash flood watch, tropical storm warning now in effect

Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast are now under a flash flood watch and tropical storm warning, which means that sustained winds of at least 39 mph are expected within 24 hours and that flooding is expected to occur.

Tropical storm Fay, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, was east-southeast of Pensacola, and moving westward near 7 mph.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast can expect torrential rains beginning mid-day Sunday and continuing through Monday. The western periphery of the storm, namely rain bands, could be felt in Biloxi beginning at midnight tonight.

Mayor A.J. Holloway has continued to recommend that residents prepare for wind and rain, but has stopped short of declaring a state of emergency in Biloxi.

Emergency management leaders are advising residents in FEMA trailers, mobile homes and Mississippi Cottages to remain vigilant to rising waters. In torrential rains, flooding can occur in areas that normally would not flood. Occupants of less than stable homes should make plans to stay with family or friends in more secure housing.

“If they haven’t done so yet, people should be reviewing their family storm plan, checking their emergency supplies, picking up things in the yard and cleaning gutters,” Mayor Holloway said. “We’re not sounding an alarm, but we are advising you to take advantage of the calm weather today and do the things that you need to be doing.”

Port Division Manager Frankie Duggan was making the rounds of Biloxi’s waterfront marinas and harbors today, advising boat owners to “check their lines, add additional lines if possible, make sure they are adjusted properly, and check them frequently.”

Although the city’s small craft harbor is several weeks from opening, about 40 working vessels are moored at the commercial harbor south of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 180 pleasure craft and charter vessels are moored at Point Cadet Marina and about 40 large shrimp boats are moored a the Lighthouse Docks on Back Bay, at the north end of Lee Street.

No evacuation orders are planned for vessels in Biloxi’s public marinas and harbors.

“Right now, one of the concerns is that our high tides come in about 5 tomorrow evening, which is right when we’ll be in the throes of the rainfall,” said Biloxi Emergency Manager Linda Atterberry. “People should be aware that there will be a good deal of street flooding and ponding, so they should limit travel to necessary trips only.”

Atterberry, who serves as the city’s liaison to the Harrison County Emergency Management Agency, said as much as 6 to 10 inches of rain could be possible through Tuesday, but the impact depended on whether the storm veers from its current westward course.

“Right now, the biggest question is where it will go,” she said. “If it turns north to the east of us, it’s not as much of a threat for us, except for rain and river flooding. If it continues westward, then we’ll get the wind, the rain on top of us, as well as the river flooding in two to three days.”

More Fay information online

—Coordinates: To see the National Weather Service advisories on Fay, as well as the storm’s latest coordinates, click here.

—Online radar: To see real-time, online radar, click here. Once on the radar site, click “Loop” on the left side of the screen to see the 10 most recent images. Arrows at the top left of the page allow you to visit radar sites east and west along the Gulf Coast.

—Checklist: Know what you need in an emergency supply kit? To read about how to prepare for storms and flooding, click here.

Storm info line: The city’s Storm Info Line, a recording of the latest advisories, was activated Friday. It can be reached at (228) 435-6300.