Long Beach readies sandbags as storm worsens

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - As conditions worsen throughout the coast, the city of Long Beach is trying to stay one step ahead of whatever may come.

Leaders and residents in Long Beach are no strangers to the dangers of tropical storms. And they understand the importance of having a plan in times of crisis.

City officials met Saturday at the city's fire station to discuss those strategies for withstanding the storm and ways to keep citizens protected.

Nicole Ruiz has family in town from Ohio, but instead of sightseeing, they're busy loading a truck full of sand bags. Ruiz says her neighborhood south of the tracks in Long Beach is already flooding, so when she found out the city was giving away sand bags she jumped at the opportunity.

"A lot of people get flooded out. And if it wasn't for this right here, it'd probably ruin a lot of the homes," Ruiz said.

The city is allotting seven sandbags per family to help shield homes from flooding. Ruiz, a Katrina survivor, knows all too well just how useful the sandbags can be.

"The house didn't flood because of the sandbags, but we lost some shingles. But a lot of people lost their homes and everything else. We were one of the lucky people that didn't."

Mayor Billy Skellie says having the sandbags ready for citizens is just one of the many ways they intend to maintain a sense of normalcy throughout the tough weather.

"We're going to have sandbags at station two on Klondike Road. And if we run out then and there's still a need, we'll have them filling bags again in the morning," Skellie said.

The mayor says his city's Katrina experience is helping officials and residents deal with the current threat more efficiently.

"They're experienced... so we have a lot of background in this, so we are prepared."

Whatever may come, Nicole Ruiz says she finds confidence in knowing that the city will be working hard on the citizens' behalf.

"It's going to be okay. I just know there's a lot of flooding. So other than that, I know it's going to be alright and they have a lot of help around here to help out residents."

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