By MARGARET BAKER
PASCAGOULA – All Jackson County offices and courts are officially closed Tuesday because of Hurricane Gustav.
Also, Jackson County Public Information Officer Ken Flanagan is encouraging any residents wishing to evacuate to do so as soon as possible.
Currently, a bus service is still motoring people to area shelters, though registration for that service ended at 5 p.m.
Flanagan said a total of 889 evacuees, some from out of state, are stationed now at the three area shelters.
“It’s not too late to go to one of our shelters,” Flanagan said. “We strongly encourage residents to leave now before the severe weather moves in and makes driving conditions dangerous.”
Shelters opened in Jackson County:
‑East Central Community Center, a special medical needs shelter, 4300 Miss. 614, Hurley. Population: 24 (7:20 p.m.).
-East Central High School, 21700 Slider Road off Miss. 614, Hurley. Population: 550 (7:20 p.m.).
-St. Martin East Elementary, 7508 Rose Farm Road off Yellow Jacket Road, St. Martin. Population: 45 (7:20 p.m.).
-Vancleave High School, 12412 Miss. 57, Vancleave. Population: 270 (7:20 p.m.).
A pet shelter is still set up across from Vancleave High School at the Vancleave Vo-Tech Center for small to medium-sized domesticated pets. Pets are currently coming in mass, and Flanagan said a count has not been taken. Pet owners should bring shot records, a kennel and food.
Meanwhile, traffic is moving steady along U.S. 90 eastbound, from the Biloxi-Ocean Springs area into Pascagoula and further east in Jackson County.
For the most part, residents are staying off the streets, many of them heeding earlier mandates to evacuate MEMA cottages, FEMA trailers, campgrounds, other low-lying areas and along the waterways.
For those still looking for gas or last minutes supplies, several convenience U.S. 90 convenience stores are still open. Most are closing by 8 p.m.