Emergency officials expect mostly rain from Ida

By Meggan Gray – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Emergency officials in south Mississippi are making the necessary preparations ahead of Tropical Storm Ida.

"We're looking at a landfall at and around Pensacola," Civil Defense Director Rupert Lacy said as he updated his staff Monday morning. "Ida is, of course, losing its hurricane characteristics. It's starting to become tropical. Now what that does mean for us here in Harrison County, is that we are still under a flood watch. We still have an inland tropical wind warning, we have the tropical storm warning."

Despite those warnings, Lacy told emergency personnel that so far, there has been no flooding in low lying areas of Harrison County. As with any storm, though, that can always change.

"Still going to be a rain event and, of course, we don't want to lose anyone because of rain events," Lacy said.

According to the National Weather Service, Ida is still expected to bring one to three inches of rain.  Lacy said his team will continue to monitor it until it makes landfall, but overall, they're not expecting much from Ida.

"Unofficially we look at it, if it didn't have a name, we would have just been dealing with a thunderstorm," Lacy said.

"We've learned since Katrina, we don't predict the weather," said Mississippi Power's Cindy Duvall. "What we do is be ready for anything, and that's what we're doing. We have our crews in place, predominantly in the east where we are tracking the storm. But again, we're going to be ready."

Lacy said Ida is a good time to practice the plan just in case.

"I know it's late in the season. It does show we can have a tropical system at any time."

This is a mild, late-season storm, but Rupert Lacy still stressed that we all need to be careful - if you see standing water, turn around, don't drown.

As of Monday morning, Lacy said all Harrison County schools will follow their regular schedule.   He's meeting with school superintendents later in the day to determine a plan for Tuesday.

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