Mississippi Preps for Storm Response

By: Mike McDaniel Email
By: Mike McDaniel Email

With memories of Hurricane Katrina still lingering on the minds of many Mississippians, leaders say the state is better prepared this time around as Isaac prepares to make landfall. Mississippi is bracing for the worst.

"This is a huge storm," said Robert Latham, executive director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. "Late yesterday afternoon it was estimated to be 800 miles wide. That's huge."

With Isaac knocking on the door of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, state leaders and emergency responders are preparing for a sudden and dramatic turn in the weather.

"As we see the weather outside it appears to be warm and sunshiny, That will change," said Gov. Phil Bryant.

Fifteen hundred members of the Mississippi National Guard were dispatched to the coast to protect people and property. Additional state troopers are also on the way to assist with traffic should contraflow happen.

With a voluntary evacuation in place, Bryant says Mississippi is already working with the White House, the federal government and neighboring states to begin response tactics once the storm passes.

"We have done everything in our power to be prepared for this storm," said Bryant.

Now it comes down to personal preparedness. While the Gulf Coast will face the brunt of the storm in Mississippi, emergency operators at MEMA say the entire state will fill its power.

"We can expect quit a bit of wind, tropical storm force winds, well above the Jackson area and on up close to the Tennessee border," said Bill Brown, MEMA chief of staff.

Even with minor shifts in its path, emergency leaders say that won't change what's expected from Isaac. Right now, the coast is looking at a ten to 12 foot storm surge.

With Katrina in mind, Bryant says the state is ready for whatever might happen.

"The most challenging portion of this is making a decision with a storm that could change direction and velocity in a matter of hours," Bryant said. "So we have to err on the side of caution. If they tell us it is a category two, we plan for a category three."

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