Tropical force winds to arrive Tuesday morning

The local weather statement, as of 10:23 this evening:

Sustained tropical storm force winds are expected to begin early Tuesday morning, with maximum winds expected be 45 to 65 mph, with gusts to 85 mph.

The storm surge and high tide could push flood waters 8 to 12 feet above mean sea level in near-coast areas, with waters as high as 4 to 7 feet above ground in low-lying areas and bays.

The storm surge is expected to begin arriving early Tuesday morning and increase throughout the day and night.

A flash flood watch is in effect, as storm totals of 13 to 18 inches of rain are expected. Isolated tornadoes will be possible as the storm’s rain bands approach the coast.

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

Weather service track: To see the current position of the storm and forecasted track, click here.

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

County to open four emergency shelters

Harrison County has announced that four emergency shelters would open Tuesday morning at 8 for those who want to evacuate flood-prone areas.

The shelters are at County Farm Road near the Fairgrounds, Lobouy Road near East Dubuisson, Saucier Lizana Road near Old Still Road, and Harrison Central High School, 15600 School Road.

The Harrison Central shelter will accommodate pets, but owners must bring food, medication and medical records, bedding, pet carrier and kennel, and leash and collar.

Coast Transit Authority will provide transportation to emergency shelters. Call (228) 896-8080.

News and notes

No fly zone: Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport will suspend flights by noon Tuesday.

Edgewater Mall: Edgewater Mall will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday, with plans to re-open Thursday.

Schools: Public schools in Biloxi will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday. The plan is for classes to resume at their usual times on Thursday.

Public housing: Administrative offices of the Biloxi Housing Authority will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday. BHA hopes to re-open its offices Thursday.

Court: 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 Thursday. Community Court cases scheduled for Tuesday will be heard on Sept. 11.

Visitors Center: The Biloxi Visitors Center will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

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 public.

Morning Call: The Biloxi Chamber of Commerce has canceled its 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.