Emergency manager: ‘This is a major severe weather outbreak’

Mississippi’s coastal counties are under a moderate-to-severe risk for hazardous weather tonight and Monday morning.

A low-pressure system moving east from Texas into the central Gulf Coast region is drawing Gulf moisture northward, with rainfall spreading over South Mississippi and Louisiana.

Rupert Lacy, director of the Harrison County Emergency Agency, said Sunday night that a line of thunderstorms stretches from Arkansas to Southern Louisiana. He advises residents that power could go out, so they should be prepared to monitor the weather with a weather radio, or charged computer or smart phone.

Severe thunderstorms are most likely to move onto the Mississippi Coast after 10 p.m, he said. The storms will be capable of producing winds up to 70 mph, hail the size of golf balls and heavy rain.

The National Weather Service has issued a number of weather advisories affecting the Coast:

— An area of the state stretching from Pearl River County to north of Greenwood is under a tornado watch until 2 a.m.

— Hancock County is under a flash-flood watch through 3 p.m. Monday.

— A wind advisory for the three coastal counties runs from 7 p.m. Sunday through 10 a.m. Monday, with the possibility for sustained winds of 25 mph, gusting up to 40 mph. Heaviest winds are forecast from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.

— With tides 1 foot to 2 feet above normal, a coastal flood advisory has been issued through 7 p.m. Monday; tides should peak in the early afternoon.

— A small-craft advisory for coastal counties runs through 1 p.m. Monday.

“This is a major severe weather outbreak that we typically see only about every five, six or seven years,” Lacy said. “History has already shown us that this system, as it has moved through Louisiana, has produced long-track tornadoes.”

The two areas of most concern Sunday night, he said, were the southwest corner of Mississippi and an area of North Mississippi around Greenwood.

The National Weather services forecasts calmer weather for the remainder of the week, but a cold front will move in, with highs in the mid-70s and a low Wednesday night in the mid-50s.

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99