Residents, businesses encouraged to prepare

For the second time in a week, Mayor A.J. Holloway is advising residents to review their personal storm plan and continue monitoring news reports concerning Gustav, a tropical storm that is expected to enter the Gulf of Mexico as a hurricane this weekend.

Shortly before noon today, Holloway met with the city’s debris-removal contractors and debris-monitoring firm to ensure that heavy equipment would be standing by and ready to move into the city in the wake of a storm. The city also re-stocked local libraries with extra copies of its Storm & Flood Preparedness guide and delivered extra copies to major employers.

“We’re doing the same things that we’re asking our residents and business owners to do: Review your storm plans. If you’re going to evacuate, have a place to go and a way to get there. Think about what you’re going to do with your pets. Pick up loose limbs and other items from the yard. Do the common-sense things that you need to be doing and continue to monitor the news reports.”

Gustav was about 110 miles west of Port Au Prince, Haiti this morning and was moving west-northwest at 5 mph. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, but was expected to reach hurricane strength within the next day or two.

“Some of the tracks we’re seeing show this storm in the Gulf as early as Saturday night,” Holloway said. “It’s certainly far too early to say where it’s going, but people should be using the next couple of days to prepare.”

Holloway and key city personnel today met with representatives of Neel-Schaffer, the city’s debris monitoring firm; Storm Reconstruction Services, a Mobile firm the city has hired under a FEMA-approved contract to clear debris from major roadways in the first 70 hours after a storm; and two other firms, Crowder-Gulf, which is the city’s pre-approved debris-removal contractor after the first 70 hours; and Earth Consulting Group, the firm that would oversee compliance with MDEQ rules for dealing with debris containing asbestos.

“As I told these folks, I hope we don’t have to use them, but I want to know that they’re in place and ready to go should we need them,” Holloway said. “They understand and are ready to go if needed.”

Holloway is also advising city department heads to review their storm plans and be ready to implement facets of their plans.

The mayor was giving the same advice last week, when Tropical Storm Fay threatened Biloxi and the surrounding area.

“From the reports we’ve seen, Gustav represents a more significant threat,” Holloway said, “so people should plan accordingly over the next couple of days.”

More online

—To see the latest coordinates and advisories on Gustav, click here.

—To read information on how to prepare for a storm, click here.