Hurricane Season Arrives

Advance forecasts are calling for eight hurricanes this year, with three of those storms intense.

Hurricane season begins June first and continues through the end of November.

Civil Defense officials say every household should have a hurricane preparedness plan, including a specific evacuation route. Those who preach preparation, are especially concerned with all the new construction and new residents moving to South Mississippi.

"The command center is where all the department heads or their representative come when we have an emergency such as a hurricane," said Linda Rouse, as she led visitors on a tour of civil defense headquarters.

The nerve center for Harrison County Civil Defense is ready for another six month season. Although the director hopes it won't get used, her office is prepared and she wants residents to do the same.

"Be ready. Be prepared. Have your plans in place. Take all the necessary precautions. As we get more people within our area, of course our concern grows," Rouse explains.

New construction along the immediate coast line includes hotels, condominiums and casino projects. The building boom means more residents and tourists need to know about the potential for hurricane damage and danger.

"Need for those people to be aware of what a hurricane can do, what damage it can do. And how to protect themselves if we do have a storm come in. We're glad to see all the growth on the coast, but at the same time we need them to be prepared and be aware of what could happen," said Rouse.

The civil defense film, "A Lady Called Camille", is part of the hurricane display at the Seafood Industry Museum. Camille remains the benchmark for any serious talk of storms in South Mississippi.

Director Robin David remembers the devastation of the category five storm.

"And hopefully we'll never have another Camille. And I wouldn't wish that on anybody, on any of the coast lines. But, I mean it was tough," said David.

The old photographs at the museum from 35 years ago offer compelling proof that hurricane season can bring devastation.

"We need to remind people that we could have another Camille here," said Linda Rouse.

Harrison County is working with the Red Cross to plan and staff hurricane shelters. But Director Rouse says such shelters should only be used by those who have no way of evacuating when a hurricane threatens.