Mayor announces expected impact of Gustav

Biloxi could see as much as 12 to 20 inches of rain and a 12- to 16-foot tidal surge as a result of Hurricane Gustav, according to Mayor A.J. Holloway, and initial tropical force winds could begin as early as midnight tonight.

The mayor also announced that a curfew will be in effect at 10 o’clock tonight and will remain in effect until further notice.

Residents are reminded that CTA will provide transportation to evacuees who gather at community pick up points. To see those points, click here.

Shelters also are opening at 6 p.m. this evening. To see the lineup, click here.

The eye of Hurricane Gustav is currently about 325 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. The storm, a Category 3 with maximum sustained winds of about 120 mph, is moving toward the northwest near 17 mph.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 50 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 200 miles.

The National Weather Service issued a storm warning from Cameron, La., to the Alabama-Florida border, meaning that hurricane conditions are expected within the next 24 hours. Said the weather service: “Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.”

On its current track, Gustav is expected to make landfall on the north Gulf of Mexico on Monday.

What to do during a hurricane warning

—Listen constantly to a battery-operated radio or television for official instructions.

—If in a mobile home, check tiedowns and evacuate immediately.

—Avoid elevators.

If at home:

––Stay inside, away from windows, skylights, and glass doors.

––Keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy. Avoid open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.

––If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce power “surge” when electricity is restored.

If officials indicate evacuation is necessary:

––Leave as soon as possible. Avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges.

––Secure your home by unplugging appliances and turning off electricity and the main water valve.

––Tell someone outside of the storm area where you are going.

––If time permits, and you live in an identified surge zone, elevate furniture to protect it from flooding or better yet, move it to a higher floor.

––Take pre-assembled emergency supplies, warm protective clothing, blankets and sleeping bags to shelter.

––Lock up home and leave.

City continues preparations

Pleasure craft, and the charter and shrimp fleets were streaming out of Biloxi’s marinas and harbors this morning and making their way up the Bay of Biloxi and rivers, seeking safe anchorage.

“We’ve asked them to leave in groups to limit the bridge openings at the Back Bay and Popp’s Ferry bridges,” said Port Division Manager Frankie Duggan. “We have only a handful in our harbors and marinas at this point, and I suspect they’ll all be gone in the next hour and a half.”

Bridges will not open to marine traffic once winds reach 34 mph.

Biloxi Public Works crews, meantime, were moving equipment to safe areas, and staging generators and bypass pumps throughout the city in the event electricity is interrupted. The generators will power water wells and bypass pumps will replace lift stations, which pump wastewater to treatment plants.

Said Public Works Director Richard Sullivan: “We’re also making sure that the million-gallon elevated water tanks are filled. We’re doing all of the things that we need to be doing.”

Employee notice: City of Biloxi employees should continue to monitor the city’s Storm Info Line at 435-6300 for any schedule updates.

Latest tracking info, advisories

For the latest tracking on Gustav, courtesy of the National Hurricane Center, click here.

To see the hurricane center’s hurricane wind probabilities over the next 120 hours, click here.

For storm preparation information, click here.