Remain vigilant, mayor says

Mayor A.J. Holloway is asking residents to remain vigilant in preparations for Tropical Storm Isaac, even though skies are clear today.

“We’re being told that things are going to start picking up later this evening,” Holloway said this morning, shortly after the City Council declared a state of emergency in Biloxi. “People should not become complacent. Just remember, there’s a storm in the Gulf, and we’re going to get wind, rain and high tides.”

Sustained tropical force winds are expected Tuesday morning, with possible hurricane force winds Tuesday after midnight. Winds are forecast to be 60 to 80 mph, with gusts to 90 mph.

From 12 to 15 inches of rainfall are expected across the Mississippi Coast, and there will be a threat of tornadoes Tuesday and Wednesday. Combined storm surge and high tides could push waters up to 12 feet above mean sea level, with a worst-case flooding of 4 to 7 feet about ground in low-lying areas and bays. Tornadoes will be possible.

Director of Administration David Staehling told the City Council this morning that the city has its debris removal contractor on standby, and that department heads were following their departmental storm plans.

The city has canceled two Katrina events: a book discussion that had been planned Tuesday afternoon at the Visitors Center, and the Katrina memorial observance that had been planned for Wednesday, the seventh anniversary of Katrina.

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

NWS local report: To see this morning’s briefing from the National Weather Service office in Slidell, click here.

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

No word yet on evacuations, but use common sense

“It happens every time,” Police Chief John Miller says. “We’ll have a storm, and people in low-lying areas will call us at the height of the winds and rain, asking if we can come get them.”

The chief’s message: If you live in a low-lying area that has flooded in the past, make plans to re-locate today.

“People ask about shelters,” Miller said, “and what people should remember is that shelters are places of last resort. The best advice at this point for people in low-lying and flood-prone areas is call family members or friends and plan to visit them for a couple of days.

“We’re always here to help in times of emergency, but don’t let it get to that point. Take action now. In the height of a storm, we may not be able to travel through heavily flooded areas that may have downed power lines and other hazards.”

U.S 90 traffic signals headed to flashing mode

Biloxi Police and Public Works directors say that MDOT plans to put traffic signals on U.S. 90 in the flashing mode, with U.S. 90 motorists having the right of way.

The move will allow engineers to remove costly electronics from the control boxes at each intersection, minimizing the risk of damage.

Motorists should stop at flashing red lights, and should use caution when approaching flashing yellow lights.

Intersections where traffic signals have been downed should be treated as four-way stops.

Municipal Court, Community Court re-schedule sessions

Judge Eugene Henry has announced that Biloxi Municipal Court has been canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Those with cases scheduled will be notified of new court dates. Court will resume its regular schedule on Thursday.

Judge Dean Wilson reports that Community Court cases scheduled for Tuesday will be heard on Sept. 11.

News and notes

DRC: The Community Development Department has canceled the Development Review Committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

Causeway open: The Popp’s Ferry causeway area, including the boat launches at that site, are now open to the publc.

Morning Call: The Biloxi Chamber of Commerce has canceled the Morning Call scheduled for Thursday at Bay Breeze Event Center at Keesler.

Katrina cancellations: Two Katrina events – a book discussion with Dr. James Pat Smith scheduled for Tuesday at the Visitors Center, and the city’s annual Katrina memorial planned for Wednesday – have been canceled.