Public works crews spend Wednesday in storm prep mode

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Steve Phillips – bio | email

BILOXI, MS  (WLOX) - The tropical weather threat made this Wednesday a very busy day for public works crews along the coast. The workers have been through this drill before, many times.  Just like home owners, cities and counties must also be certain they are ready for high winds, heavy rains or stormy seas.

Biloxi public works crews tackle an overgrown drainage ditch in Bay Vista subdivision. With heavy rains likely, workers spent much of the day clearing ditches and drains.

Tractor mowers and weed eaters chopped down high grasses along Churchill Avenue, clearing a way for rainfall runoff.

A couple miles away, another Biloxi public works crew prepared to remove a bypass sewage pump from Rodenberg and Highway 90.

"We're doing probably the same thing every home owner does. We're just picking up and straightening up before the storm gets here, just on a much bigger scale. Instead of moving lawn chairs and furniture around and plants, we're picking up equipment and pipe and getting battened down. Getting ready for the storm," said Tracey Forehand, with Biloxi Public Works.

Harrison County was also in preparation mode, filling vehicles with fuel and making certain emergency equipment is working.

"We're testing all the generators, making sure everything is full of fuel, boarding up some buildings, picking up loose materials," says Mike Wilson, director of maintenance for Harrison County.

By late morning, the boat wash at the Courthouse Road pier parking had a line of vessels waiting. BP contractors were getting boats off the water, in anticipation of stormy seas.

The Harrison County Road Department on Lorraine Cowan Road is one place you can get sand bags if you need them.  The county provides the sand and the bags, but the rest is self service.

Early afternoon, workers from Gulf Coast Community Action Agency loaded up a few sand bags, "just in case," as one worker explained.

Back in Biloxi, public works crews carried on with their ditch cleaning. Tropical weather threats always mean one thing for them.

"Busy day, busy day," said Forehand.

Public works crews will also be very busy once the heavy rains hit. They are the ones working outdoors during the downpours, clearing those storm drains that often get clogged by heavy rainfall.

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