Heavy rain, flooding forecast for South Mississippi; flood watch issued

Sand is available at Courthouse Road Pier in Gulfport, and other sites, for residents to make sandbags in advance of a heavy rain system expected this week on the Coast.
Sand is available at Courthouse Road Pier in Gulfport, and other sites, for residents to make sandbags in advance of a heavy rain system expected this week on the Coast.

Jackson County has declared a state of emergency in anticipation of heavy rain that is forecast for South Mississippi this week.

Up to 10 inches of rain could fall along the Gulf Coast by the weekend, the National Weather Service predicts. A low-pressure system is expected to hover over the Coast, dumping heavy rain from Mobile to New Orleans — with the Mississippi coastline in the bull’s-eye.

The weather service Tuesday issued a flash flood watch from Wednesday evening through Friday morning for Stone, George, Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties, as well as southeast Louisiana and the Mobile area.

An unusually high amount of moisture in the air, along with hot temperatures, could make for strong storms in the afternoons. The greatest risks will be frequent lightning strikes, wind gusts of 30-40 mph and locally heavy rainfall, the weather service advises.

“Abundant tropical moisture pooled along a stationary boundary aligned with the Gulf Coast will become increasingly favorable for heavy rains and potential flooding in the central Gulf Coast region,” the weather service said in an advisory. “Storm total rainfall accumulations Wednesday through Friday morning could range between 5 and 8 inches with some locally higher amounts close to 10 inches, particularly near the Mississippi Coast and into the metro New Orleans area.”

Daily rain chances of 70 percent or higher are forecast every day through Sunday.

Harrison and Jackson county officials already have set up sandbag stations so residents can protect their homes from expected flooding.

“We are a sand-rich community (in Harrison County) so we can put out a lot of sand piles and we’re not using a lot of county resources to do that,” said Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy. “We’ve been pushing out sandbags since Friday and our maintenance departments have been checking our high-water vehicles to make sure we’re ready.”

Lacy also said city public works employees and county road department employees have been out in advance of the storm, cleaning roads and making sure ditches, drains and culverts are clean and free-flowing to minimize flooding issues.

Jackson County and its four municipalities declared s state of emergency in anticipation of the excessive rainfall forecast for South Mississippi.

“That allows us to give out sand and sandbags to anyone who needs it,” said Earl Etheridge, director of the county’s emergency services. “There’s not a whole lot else we can do right now.”

Kate Magandy: 228-896-2344, @kmagandy

Sandbag locations

In Harrison County

  • Public Works on North Street in Pass Christian
  • District 3 Work Center in Long Beach
  • District 4 Work Center on 34th Street in Gulfport
  • Road Department on Cowan-Lorraine Road in Gulfport
  • Courthouse Road Pier in Gulfport
  • Orange Grove Community Center in Gulfport
  • 42nd Avenue Fire Station on Hewes Avenue in Gulfport
  • District 2 Work Center on County Farm Road in Gulfport
  • Work Center on Automall Parkway in D’Iberville

In Jackson County:

  • Ocean Springs Public Works Department, 712-A Pine Drive
  • Pascagoula Public Works Department (Recycle Center), 4011 14th Street
  • Gautier, behind City Hall, 3330 U.S.90
  • Moss Point Central Fire Station, 4204 Bellview Street
  • Central Division Roads Department, 8500 Jim Ramsey Road, Vancleave
  • East Division Roads Department, 10825 Mississippi 63, Moss Point
  • Fontainebleau Fire Station, 3901 Mississippi 57 south of U.S. 90
  • West Division Roads Department, 6900 N. Washington Avenue, Ocean Springs
  • Forts Lake Fire Department, 10701 Forts Lake Road
  • Escatawpa Fire Station, 3801 Sentinel Drive, Moss Point

In Hancock County

  • Hancock County Arena, 4184 Kiln Delisle Road, Kiln
  • Hancock County Old Annex, 3068 Longfellow Drive, Bay St. Louis
  • Lakeshore Community Center, 6440 Lower Bay Road, Lakeshore
  • West Hancock Fire Department, 16006 Washington Street, Pearlington