Weather

Severe weather hits Harrison County with tornado, flood warnings during Black Spring Break

Strong winds made for rough waters on Saturday afternoon, April 14, 2018. Harrison County experienced a tornado watch and flash flood warning throughout the day.
Strong winds made for rough waters on Saturday afternoon, April 14, 2018. Harrison County experienced a tornado watch and flash flood warning throughout the day. ycruz@sunherald.com

Severe weather battered the Gulf Coast Saturday afternoon, causing a change of plans for anyone who wanted to spend the day outdoors.

With so many people in town for Black Spring Break, Biloxi police are keeping an eye out to make sure everyone is staying safe.

"There's no secret that there's bad weather going on, so it seems people are moving indoors on their own," said Ofc. Joey Payne. "We think they are just looking for some alternate entertainment now."

Many visitors stayed around the area of the Edgewater Mall. Even with winds blowing and an overcast sky, beachgoers tried to make the best of the day by spending some time in the sand enjoying the warm temperatures.

The National Weather Service issued tornado watches for much of South Mississippi, including Harrison, Jackson, Stone and George counties. Pearl River County experienced a tornado warning Saturday morning, but there were no reports of damage.

Harrison County received a tornado warning around 2 until 2:30 p.m.

As the weather grew worse, Biloxi police implemented its emergency traffic plan, bringing traffic from two lanes down to one each way on U.S. 90. This was done to leave the left lanes clear for emergency vehicles, but in addition to the rain, traffic slowed down considerably in the area.

Strong thunderstorms were also in the area of Harrison and Hancock counties, with winds in excess of 40 mph possible. A flash flood warning for the area was put into effect around 1:30 p.m. to last until 4:30 p.m. River flooding is also a possibility over the weekend.

"Our whole plan for this weekend is quite fluid, and we did think of the severe weather in our contingency plan," Payne said. "We are in the area, so if we see any issues, we will address them."

Sunday should be cooler and sunny, with high of 66 and overnight low of 40.

Monday is forecast to be sunny, with high of 69 and a low of 51. Warmer weather is expected for the rest of the week.

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