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Not again!

September 22, 2005

Obviously relief efforts are being suspended as we watch to see which way this girl will turn.

BAY ST. LOUIS — Mississippi was placed under a state of emergency and a voluntary evacuation was ordered for residents in low areas of Hancock County today as Hurricane Rita appeared to edge slightly eastward.

“I urge all Mississippians to please take this storm seriously,” Gov. Haley Barbour said in a statement. “Now is the time to prepare yourself, your family and your friends.”

Rita’s threat comes 3 1/2 weeks after Hurricane Katrina battered Hancock County and other parts of south Mississippi.

The latest predictions show Rita, a Category 4 storm marching west-northwest across the Gulf of Mexico, could make landfall late Friday or early Saturday. Rita made a sharper-than-expected turn to the right this afternoon, and it appeared as if the storm might come ashore near Port Arthur, Texas, or Lake Charles, La.

The Mississippi Emergency Management agency said residents should prepare for the possibility the hurricane could cause heavy rains, flooding and even tornadoes once it makes landfall.

Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck issued the emergency declaration at the request of Barbour, who was in Washington meeting with congressional and administration officials about ongoing recovery efforts.

Hancock County urged residents in areas that normally flood during heavy rains or high tides to move inland. A similar call went out to displaced residents and work crews living in mobile homes and tents.

If Hurricane Rita continued on the same track as of noon today, tides in the area could run 4 to 5 feet above normal from Friday afternoon into Saturday and winds could reach 40 mph, said Brian Adams, the county emergency management director.

High tides being pushed ashore by Rita had already caused some minor flooding in Hancock County and conditions in those areas will only deteriorate into Saturday, said Paul Reese, a spokesman for county’s emergency management agency.

Hancock County, which borders Louisiana, suffered extensive damage from Katrina’s powerful winds and storm surge, especially the towns of Waveland the Bay St. Louis.

No voluntary evacuations were posted today for the state’s two other coastal counties — Harrison and Hancock counties — but officials at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi said all military personnel who had been recalled to duty should not to return until Sunday.

A coastal flood warning has been in place for the county since early today, meaning more flooding is on the way.

“Residents of low-lying areas, mobile homes and tents should reach higher ground now,” Adams said. “Those who leave the county should go north and east, such as to Hattiesburg, Laurel or Meridian.”

He said those using county buses for evacuation should pack lightly but carry enough basic supplies for at least three days.

Adams said that while the American Red Cross would keep its shelters in the county open, it would be best if residents in threatened areas moved inland.

“Shelters here are less than comfortable, and poor sanitation can develop quickly,” Adams said. “Residents who decide to stay in the county, even those who go to local shelters, are risking their health and safety.”

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 22, 2005 10:32 pm

    Tommy – Thank you so much for ALL you and the church there are doing for all those in need down this way. It becomes more and more overwhelming day by day as we find more and more displaced, homeless people every way we turn.

    Tom and I have “various” boarders staying here at the house from day to day and now we have yet this “new” hurricane to worry about.

    Please pray for all of us that we will continue to feel well enough to keep going on and to help all those around us we can.

    Thanks! Thanks for everything!


  2. September 23, 2005 11:07 pm

    It’s so amazing, this confluence of events, isn’t it?

  3. February 6, 2006 11:00 am

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