South Mississippi awoke Monday to the blare of emergency alerts on their cellphones and weather radios, followed by high winds, thunder and lightning as storms blew through Monday, leaving minor damage.
A tornado warning expired at 9 a.m., when the National Weather Service reported the threat of severe weather had moved out of South Mississippi.
“We were fortunate. The storm didn’t have time to build before moving in,” said Harrison County Emergency Management Agency Director Rupert Lacy.
He said the Wolf River at Gulfport is expected to crest Tuesday afternoon at 7.9 feet (0.1 foot below flood stage). The Biloxi River at Lyman should crest by Tuesday morning at 13.0 feet (1 foot above flood stage), and the Tchoutacabouffa River at D’Iberville was expected to crest Monday night at 7.5 feet (0.5 feet below flood stage).
Ponding on U.S. 90 in Biloxi and other roads across the area during the height of the storm made the morning commute challenging. Traffic was lighter than usual for a Monday since most area schools delayed the start of classes by two hours or more so students wouldn’t be out waiting for the bus in heavy thunderstorms.
At one point about 4,000 power outages were reported across the three Coast counties by Coast Electric, Mississippi Power and Singing River Electric.
An 18-wheeler was struck by lighting westbound on the Interstate 10 long bridge, said Earl Ethridge, Jackson County Emergency Management director. He said Moss Point emergency personnel responded. Accidents were reported on I-10, just east of exit 50, where there were no injuries from an overturned vehicle, and on U.S. 90 in Gautier, he said.
Another round of severe weather is possible early Wednesday morning. Damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes are again possible.