Holloway on storm season: Don’t be scared, be prepared

Mayor A.J. Holloway, aware that Biloxi residents are growing anxious about the June 1 start of hurricane season, has a familiar message: Don’t be scared, be prepared.

Holloway, who met with key department heads last week to review the city’s storm-preparation plans, is advising residents to begin updating their personal storm plans.

“Now is the time to consider things like if you have to evacuate, where are you going to go? Do you have relatives upstate or in a neighboring state? Have you plotted your evacuation route and travel time? Have you made arrangements for the family pet? Do you have important papers in a secure location? Have you thought about the things that you’ll need to secure in your yard? And, finally, have you checked your storm kit to make sure that you have the key items like a battery-operated radio with fresh batteries, emergency food and water, a non-electric can opener, and a first-aid kit?

“These sound like a lot of questions to consider,” Holloway added, “but if you go by the checklist, you’ll get it all done and have the satisfaction of knowing you’re prepared.”

The city will soon be mailing its Storm & Flood Preparedness Guide for 2007, but previous editions and a host of storm preparation information, including a pre-hurricane season checklist, are available in the storm and flood section of the city’s web site. (To go there, click here.)

Last year’s eight-page storm newsletter, which contained a Vietnamese and Spanish section, outlined the city’s plans for issuing evacuation recommendations and orders, which will be in effect again this year.

“Essentially,” Holloway said, “the plan again this season is to ramp up the notices to the public. If Biloxi is in the probability cone 72 hours before landfall, expect to see a recommended evacuation announcement. If we’re still in the probability cone 48 hours out, expect to see a mandatory evacuation order for low-lying areas, which triggers the closure of casinos; and at 36 hours out, you can plan on seeing a mandatory evacuation.”

Added the mayor: “We’re aware that even a moderate storm would cause extensive damage given that our waterfront areas are still barren, and we’re aware that thousands of residents are still in trailers, and that we’re still without the Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge, so it’s important that everyone take the necessary steps now to be well-prepared.”

More storm info online

—The city’s Storm & Flood Preparedness section contains an archive of annual storm-preparedness newsletters, links to real-time radar stations spanning the Gulf of Mexico, printer-friendly evacuation maps and hurricane-tracking maps, and links to National Weather Service storm advisories, including advisories on the weakening subtropical depression Andrea. To visit the Storm & Flood Preparedness site, click here.

—You also can find a number of digital maps online, showing the existing and proposed flood zones in the city. To see a map showing existing and proposed flood zones, click here.
To see a detailed flood zone map showing elevations, click here.