The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is forecasting Hurricane Nate will make landfall tonight along the Mississippi Gulf Coast as a Category 2. The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) urges motorists to exit highways as the storm comes ashore and until it passes.
“We are advising motorists to stay off the roads to keep you and your family safe,” said MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath. “Remember to avoid flooded roadways under any circumstances and never drive through a flooded or barricaded area. MDOT has equipment in place and experienced crews ready to activate as first responders as soon as the storm passes.”
There are currently 16 counties in Mississippi under either a hurricane or tropical storm warning. Local officials have issued evacuation orders in some coastal counties. For evacuation route information, go to www.GoMDOT.com/hurricanes.
MDOT has announced the following updates for impact to travelers.
- Vehicles should exit the Highway 90 corridor along the Gulf Coast now to clear it for MDOT crews to prepare the highway for the storm in Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties. There is potential for sections of U.S. Highway 90 and other routes to flood in these counties late this evening as a result of storm surge.
- The I-55 pavement rehabilitation project in McComb has been halted, and both northbound lanes are open to traffic throughout the weekend.
- On the Interstate 10 widening project in Jackson County, two lanes will be open in both directions. Traffic barrels will remain in place on a 10-mile stretch of this project between Vancleave and the Alabama state line.
- Highway 57 at Red Creek in Jackson County remains closed after recently being struck by a truck carrying a track hoe. Motorists are advised to continue following posted signage and utilize State Route 26, State Route 63 and I-10 as alternate routes.
- A two-mile northbound section of the I-55 pavement rehabilitation project in Copiah County near Hazlehurst is restricted to one-lane of traffic due to an approximately three-inch drop off between lanes. Motorists are advised to use extreme caution when traveling through this area as traffic volume has increased due to the storm.
MDOT crews in South Mississippi will cease all preparation activities and begin to seek shelter at approximately 5 p.m. Once the storm passes, citizens are encouraged to limit travel to allow MDOT crews to inspect roadways and bridges, and remove debris to allow for first responders and emergency personnel to safely enter areas affected by the storm and respond to those in need. Flooded roadways or debris blocking roadways should be reported to local law enforcement.
MDOT urges motorists to stay off roadways during the storm, but if emergency travel is required, use these safety tips:
- buckle up for safety;
- slow down, especially during heavy downpours;
- allow more space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you;
- brake early to allow plenty of time to stop;
- brake gently to avoid skidding and never slam on the brakes;
- turn on lights to be more visible to other motorists;
- stay alert and look farther ahead in traffic than you normally do;
- use headlights whenever conditions require the use of windshield wipers;
- during a tornado, leave your car and find shelter in a sturdy structure or ditch;
- turn around, don’t drown on flooded roadways;
- during heavy winds, be on high alert for debris;
- do not use cruise control when roads are wet; the distance it takes to stop increases in these conditions; and
- for moresevere weather driving tips, visit GoMDOT.com/drivesmartms.
For road conditions, follow @MississippiDOT on Twitter and Facebook, and stay updated on current live traffic and travel info at MDOTtraffic.com, download the MDOT Traffic mobile app or call 511 in Mississippi.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) is responsible for providing a safe intermodal transportation network that is planned, designed, constructed and maintained in an effective, cost-efficient and environmentally sensitive manner. MDOT’s objective is to maximize taxpayer’s dollars by providing a safe, efficient multimodal network that enhances economic stability and growth. For more information, visit GoMDOT.com.