PEARL—As Tropical Storm Karen approaches the Gulf Coast and is expected to affect Mississippi with rising storm surge, high winds and torrential rains, state agencies are making preparations in anticipation of landfall.
MEMA Executive Director Robert Latham and other officials are monitoring the progress of the storm from the Gulf Coast and will remain there until Karen moves out of the area.
“One of our priorities is to continue outreach for our visitors to special events on the coast this weekend to make sure they are prepared,” Latham said. “That being said, all forecasts are showing this will be a quick moving system and should clear our area by Sunday which will allow events like ‘Cruisin’ on the Coast’ to go on as planned.”
MEMA issues the following updates on state and local actions in response to Karen:
- MDOT moving equipment (front end loaders, bull dozers, etc.) to the coast to stage them; immediately after the storm they can start removing sand from U.S. Highway 90.
- Miss. Department of Humans Services county directors in the potentially affected counties are working closely with local EMA Directors and Red Cross to open and staff shelters as requested.
- Sandbags and sand are available for Harrison County residents at city barns. These locations include the work center on Lorraine Road and the Public Works Department at 4050 Hewes Ave in Gulfport.
- American Red Cross staff is communicating with local emergency managers and Department of Human Services to coordinate shelter openings if needed. Volunteers, shelter teams, and 11 emergency response vehicles have been placed on alert.
- Mississippi Emergency Management agency supplying sandbags, water and tarps to the coast from the MEMA EOC in Pearl.
- Request for Sandbags from Jackson (20K), Harrison (15K) and Pearl River (5K) Counties have been completed.
- Search and Rescue teams have been sent to support Jackson, Harrison and Hancock counties.
- State Emergency Response Team has deployed to the Combat Readiness Training Center in Gulfport.
- 300 Mississippi National Guard troops with high water vehicles have been deployed to affected areas.
According to the National Weather Service much of south Mississippi can expect heavy rains and strong winds and tidal surge through Sunday.
No shelters are open but please monitor local media and county emergency management websites for shelter updates.
The public may call the MEMA information line at 1-866-519-6362 for updates.
For preparedness information, visit www.msema.org. Like MEMA on Facebook and follow Twitter updates using the handle @MSEMA.