Hurricane Ike doesn't look like it will directly strike South Mississippi, but its effects are being felt here. Roads and yards are already flooding in Biloxi and Gulfport.
Water is already approaching the seawall in east Biloxi, and Bernard Bayou in Gulfport is rising.
On Caribe Place off of Courthouse Road, Joe Dalto IV and his wife, Frances, were loading a U-Haul truck with things on the bottom floor of their raised house.
"We're actually getting efficient at it," he said taking it all in stride. "It's part of living on the water."
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Near by was a sodden pile of debris cleared out from a neighbor's house after Hurricane Gustav flooded the area with about four feet of water.
Dalto said he started watching the water last night, and "it was coming up pretty fast" this morning, prompting the moving truck.
On Mill Road to the east, the Nichols families had loaded the lawn furniture onto a trailer ready to move "just in case," said Lenny Nichols.
"It got flooded in Gustav, so we decided to move it up."
Nichols built a second house where his son's family now lives next door to his after Hurricane Katrina
"It's worth every flood," said Lenny's wife, Carolyn.
Gulfport Police have set up barricades around the flooded areas, trying to keep motorists out, but at least one learned the hard way not to drive into a flooded street.
Another resident said she had been told by police that the water is expected to stay high at least through Friday evening.
Gulfport police have placed barricades at several areas where water is rising - West Pine Street and Mills Road, Mills and Magnolia Street, 20th Avenue and U.S. 90, and 23rd Avenue and 90, Kahler and Chamberlain and Kahler at Rivers Bend Drive. Jones Park also is taking on water. "It's probably going to get worse as the day goes on and over the next couple of days," said James Griffin, Gulfport Police spokesman. "As this storm advances, it's just going to keep pushing water up." Police in Biloxi have reported similar problems at areas prone to flood, especially along Cedar Lake and Lorraine roads. "Our best advice is if you come up on standing water and you can't see the road for the water, don't try to drive through it," said Biloxi Police Sgt. Jackie Rhodes.
Biloxi Police and Public Works departments have closed the following streets: U.S. 90 at Miramar, Lorraine Road from Shorecrest to city limits, Cedar Lake Road at Cedar Lake bridge, portions of Third Street on Point Cadet, Bayview Avenue east of Lee Street and Pine Street between First and Howard.
As an increasing number of roads became impassible this morning, Bobby Weaver, interim director of the Harrison County Emergency Management Agency, said the National Weather Service reports a higher water level here than expected. "As Ike pushes past south of us, it's no longer 2 to 5 feet of water expected, but 4 to 6," Weaver said. "Just keep in mind we're just passing a high tide event so we may see some fluctuation in the height as the tidal cycle repeats itself tomorrow. We may be looking at the same scenaraio or slightly less tomorrow." "We're going to have low-lying flooding and water may hold here for 24 hours." Mississippi Department of Transportation this morning confirms eastbound lanes near Rodenburg Avenue in Biloxi are closed. While westbound lanes are open, motorists can expect delays because of standing water is on the roadway. Motorists also can expect delays west of Oak Avenue in Biloxi near Grand Casino, again because of standing water on the roadway. In Pass Christian, water is standing on Henderson Avenue, MDOT said.
This morning, the National Weather Service issued a tropical storm warning for the coastal areas from the Mississippi-Alabama line to Cameron, La. Tropical storm conditions are expected from this morning through Friday.
The weather service, which on Wednesday issued a coastal flooding warning, said this morning that large swells will be advancing to the coasts of Mississippi and Louisiana today through Friday. Tides are expected to increase 3 to 5 feet above normal today and Friday.
Tropical showers and thunderstorms, capable of producing waterspouts over water and tornadoes over land, are possible through Friday.