Jackson County Emergency Management Director Earl Etheridge spent Saturday monitoring the latest on Hurricane Nate — and with good reason, as the storm was expected to make landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast on Saturday night.
“Pascagoula and parts of Jackson County could be the bullseye for the storm,” Etheridge said.
Hurricane Nate was upgraded from a Tropical Storm on Friday night when it entered the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. On Saturday afternoon, Nate was a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 90 mph. The storm is moving quickly across the Gulf and it could become a Category 2 storm before making landfall.
Nate is the ninth storm in a row to reach hurricane status.
Etheridge said the storm could be reminiscent of another hurricane that hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
“This storm system resembles Hurricane Georges, which hit Jackson County in 1998,” he said.
Hurricane Georges hit South Mississippi in September 1998. It damaged homes and property along the Coast, particularly in Jackson and Stone counties.
“Georges had a storm surge of 11 feet,” Etheridge said. “But it also brought a lot of rain with it, and if we get even 6 inches of rain with this storm, we will have some flooding issues.”
Etheridge said he recommends anyone living in areas that are prone to flooding to evacuate their homes, especially those living in areas such as Davis Bayou and Gulf Park Estates as well east of Pascagoula and south of Gautier.
Hancock County issued a mandatory evacuation for residents beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday.
Hancock County Emergency Management Director Brian Adam said Saturday morning that the evacuation had gone smoothly.
“We’re expecting 9 inches of water, so everyone in the low-lying areas needs to get to higher ground or go to one of the shelters in Hancock County,” Adam said. “We’ll be running the office 24 hours a day, so call 228-255-0942 if you need any assistance.”
Biloxi, Pass Christian, and Long Beach and D’Iberville evacuated their harbors on Friday and Saturday morning.
- D’Iberville High School, 15626 Lamey Bridge Road, at 2 p.m. Saturday
- Saucier Lizana Rd 361 Shelter, 23771 Saucier Lizana Road, at 2 p.m. Saturday
- County Farm 361 Shelter, 15038 County Farm Road, at 2 p.m. Saturday
- Lobouy 361 Shelter in Pass Christian, 9509 Lobouy Road, at 2 p.m. Satuday
- West Harrison High School, 10399 County Farm Road, at 2 p.m. Saturday
Register for a ride to a Harrison County shelter by calling the Coast Transit Authority at 228-896-8080.
- Kiln Shelter, Mississippi 603, at 7 a.m. on Saturday.
- Leetown Shelter, Hancock County, at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
In George County, two shelters open at 4 p.m. Saturday and will be run by the American Red Cross and the Department of Human services. They are the Benndale Storm Shelter, 5207 U.S. 26 West; and Agricola Storm Shelter, 3161 Cooks Corner Road.
In Jackson County, three shelters will open at 8 a.m. Saturday. They are Central Jackson County Shelter; 5500 Ballpark Road; Vancleave (Pet shelter near Vancleave shelter); West Jackson County Shelter, 13000 Walker Road, St. Martin; East Jackson County Shelter, 18413 Hwy. 613, Hurley.
The Jackson County Animal Shelter will only be providing sheltering services to those residents that will be utilizing the three Jackson County American Red Cross 361 Emergency Shelters. Animal Shelter staff will be available at each of the sites to take pets to a designated pet shelter. Animals must be in a cage, kennel or crate.
- CTA will not offer any bus services on Sunday and will stop bus services at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
- Pascagoula River Audubon Center is canceling all programming this weekend.
- Gulf Islands National Seashore officials will close all of areas of the national seashore including all Mississippi Islands to the public.
- St. James Fall Festival at the church on Cowan Road in Gulfport is postponed until next weekend.
- The Catholic Diocese of Biloxi’s 2017 Rosary Rally, scheduled for Sunday at Holy Family Catholic Church in Pass Christian, has been canceled.
- The Lighthouse Arts and Crafts Fair on Saturday at the Biloxi Visitors Center is canceled.
- Zonta Arts & Crafts Festival in downtown Pascagoula will be postponed. The 40th Annual Day in the Plaza will be Oct. 28.
- Westminster Presbyterian Church’s Fall Festival and blessing of the pets, scheduled for this Saturday, has been postponed until Oct. 21. It will still run 1-4 p.m. in Bayou View Park, Gulfport.
- The Gulf Coast Italian American Cultural Society annual Columbus Dinner set for Monday has been canceled.
- The de l’Epee Deaf Center in Gulfport has rescheduled its Spooktacular event to Oct. 21, from 4 to 7 p.m.
- The Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs is closed until Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 9 a.m.
- The Humane Society of South Mississippi will close Saturday to evacuate the shelter and make room for anticipated strays.
- The Jackson County Animal Shelter closed at noon Friday and will remain closed Saturday.
- Sunday morning services at First United Methodist Church of Gulfport and all Sunday activities are canceled, including C.L.I.C.K & the Youth Cohort gathering.
- Harrison County Soccer Field Tournament on County Farm Road are canceled for Saturday and Sunday.
- Football games on County Football Fields should conclude by 2 p.m. Saturday.
- Events at Harrison County buildings, civic centers, seniors centers should be concluded and secured by 7 p.m. Saturday.
- Long Beach Schools will be closed on Monday.
- The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 2004 Pass Road, Biloxi, will postpone Sunday’s Divine Worship Service until Monday, Oct. 9, at 6 p.m.