Emergency workers surprised, but ready for Ida

By Sylvia Hall – bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - With trucks packed and fueled, and gear in order, the Pascagoula Fire Department was ready for a hectic night that never came Monday.

"I don't know if we actually made that 65 mile an hour wind they were predicting for us," said Todd McClung of the Pascagoula Fire Department.

Firefighters spent the night listening to the wind and rain, and just two calls. It was a relatively slow night anytime of year.

"I'm glad nobody had any serious damage," said McClung. "And no one needed our services."

Jackson County Civil Defense Director Donald Langham said the highest wind gust overnight in the county was 47 miles per hour. Sustained winds stayed lower.

"We fared real well," Langham said. "We have no reported structural damages in the county, no reports of any injuries associated with the storm. The only problem was we had about 20-25 roads throughout the county that had some flooding problems. Some of the roads had to be barricaded and closed off."

Sheriff Mike Byrd had extra officers patrolling the streets, high water vehicles and a rescue boat ready just in case. He's pleased he didn't have to use them. Some of the most severe problems he reported were flooding of low-lying roads, a few downed trees, and a handful of fender bender car accidents.

"I was very thankful," Byrd said. "I just don't think we could stand another storm right now. It's bad enough the way things are, people trying to rebuild from Katrina. I just don't think folks could handle another hit like that."

County authorities are relieved Ida wasn't as bad as expected. They're also glad to know that even after such a quiet storm season, they were prepared.

"Everything went real well," Langham said. "I was real pleased with all the people that came in there and supported me, and we had a real good working relationship. Everything went real well."

"Would have been nice to go a whole season without a storm entering the gulf whatsoever," McClung said. "We're a fire department, we're always ready."

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.