Blustery storm mostly a nuisance

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The impact of Tropical Storm Lee has ruined what would have been a busy end-of-the-Summer weekend for the tourism industry.

Instead of busy beaches and crowded hotels, this Labor Day weekend has been a washout.

The storm might be best described as a "blustery nuisance."

Tropical Storm Lee pushed debris onto the beach, made a sandy mess of Highway 90 and forced river residents to pause and prepare.

A large debris line along the beach is the most obvious reminder of Lee's visit.

As pelicans faced the wind and waves, a line of jet skis sat silent along the sea wall, a safe distance away from the angry surf.

Drivers on Highway 90 had to contend with a slurry of sand, rain and seawater.

Local rivers begin to swell, prompting a familiar ritual for river residents.

Folks who live along area rivers were certainly watching the impact of this tropical weather more closely than other people might be.

WLOX visited with a group of self-professed "river rats" as they watched the waters rise late Sunday afternoon and evening.

"We go through this about every three or four years. But it's worth it. It's a great place to live," said Mike Moses.

Moses watched the Tchoutacabouffa River rise with his friends and fellow river residents. They're all familiar with the high water ritual.

"You just watch the forecast and pick up everything that might float away. Then you have to see how bad the clean-up is," he explained.

"We're in pretty good shape right now. We just don't know what's going to happen in the future," said Pete Trexler.

He lives downstream from his friend Mike Moses. They've been through this so often, getting prepared is second nature.

These friends said they understand and appreciate that every storm is different and each is a potential threat.

"We're not real excited about it. It's just one of them things. We just go through a ritual every time one comes up, so that's what it's all about," said Trexler.

A part of the storm-prep-ritual is parking vehicles and boats on high ground along Highway 15.

Once the storm passes, they'll all be back.  And these people who love living on the river will once again remember why.

"We get a couple bad days, and a thousand good ones," said Moses, smiling.

The river residents said they appreciate their tight knit community. They said they take seriously the threat of tropical weather. They also pitch-in and help one another with the preparations and the clean-up.

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