The Coast is no longer under a tropical storm warning, but residents can expect from Tropical Storm Cindy up to 12 inches of rain, with even more in isolated areas, and river flooding, Harrison County emergency manager Rupert Lacy said in a Wednesday afternoon briefing.
The National Weather Service extended a tornado watch through 3 a.m. Thursday for the three coastal counties, where rivers were above flood stage by Wednesday afternoon.
An astronomical high tide Thursday morning will be 2 feet above normal, making rivers slower to drain, Harrison County emergency management said. Rivers could remain above flood stage until Saturday.
The tide drives water back into the Biloxi Back Bay and Bay of St. Louis, preventing drainage. Those high tides will last until Monday, forecasters predict.
“It’s a concerning flood,” Lacy said. “All the projected values have been upped by the (National) Weather Service three times. There’s a lot of water and a lot of force of water flowing downstream.
Harrison County Sheriff Troy Peterson said his office has heavy trucks, Jet Skis and equipment staged at the work center on Lorraine Road for emergency evacuations along rivers. He hopes residents have evacuated or will do so by nightfall, but expects to start receiving calls for help by 11 p.m. Wednesday.
“If they’re in a low-lying area,” Peterson said, “they need to get out because there’s a chance at that time we may not be able to get them.”
Here’s what else you need to know about the story for Wednesday evening:
The storm had dropped about 4-8 inches of rain by Wednesday afternoon, with another 3 to 6 inches projected. Rain totals from the storm could reach 10-13 inches, with up to 15 inches in isolated areas.
The National Weather Service extended a tornado watch for South Mississippi to 3 a.m. Thursday and flooding is expected.
A waterspout was reported Wednesday morning in Biloxi, with photos widely shared on Facebook.
Several major roads in Biloxi, D’Iberville and Pass Christian flooded and officials urged motorists not to drive around barricades and report any flooding not already barricaded off. Smaller streets across the Coast have also been blocked by water.
In Hancock County, all lanes of Mississippi 604 near the intersection with Mississippi 607 and U.S. 90 were closed.
American Medical Response is fully staffed and hospitals remain open. Biloxi has launched its swift water response team in case of emergency.
However, emergency officials cautioned residents in flooded areas that there may be a delay in emergency response. Rescuers will work with the sheriff’s department on obtaining high-wheel vehicles but officials told concerned residents to seek shelter in non-flooded areas.
No major outages have been reported, but crews are on alert to respond. Officials urged Coast residents to report any downed power lines and to avoid the area surrounding them. Power outages can be reported on utilities’ websites and apps as well as by phone.
A Singing River Electric spokesperson said crews have been restoring “scattered, minor outages” since Tuesday.
The Salvation Army opened its cold weather shelter in Gulfport for Wednesday and Thursday nights. The shelter, at 2019 22nd Street, opened at 4 p.m. and will close doors to new entries at 10 p.m. Dinner is at 6 p.m. and breakfast is provided.
The Salvation Army is also looking for volunteers to work at the shelter. Anyone interested can sign up on its website.
River flood warnings
Biloxi River (near Lyman)
Latest stage: 15.5 feet at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday
Flood stage: 12 feet
Forecast: Rise to near 17 feet by Thursday morning, fall below flood stage early Saturday morning
Latest stage: 10.2 feet at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday
Flood stage: 8 feet
Forecast: Rise to near 12 feet by Thursday morning, fall below flood stage before midnight Saturday
Latest stage: 10.6 feet at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday
Flood stage: 8 feet
Forecast: Rise to near 15 feet by Thursday morning and fall below flood stage Friday morning
Latest stage: 5.4 feet at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday
Flood stage: 6 feet
Forecast: Rise to near 7.5 feet by Thursday morning; fall below flood stage by Thursday evening
Pearl River (near Pearl River)
Latest stage: 11.7 feet at 4 p.m. Wednesday
Flood stage: 14 feet
Forecast: Rise above flood stage by Friday morning and rise to near 15 feet by Tuesday morning
Pascagoula River (at Graham Ferry)
Latest stage: 15 feet at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday
Flood stage: 16 feet
Forecast: Rise to near 18.5 feet by Sunday evening
Latest stage: 5.5 feet at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday
Flood stage: 8 feet
Forecast: Rise to near 10.5 feet by Friday evening
National Weather Service