MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - A Vancleave woman saw water rising toward her elevated home. She called 911, hoping rescue teams would splash out to her property and carry her to safety. A Jackson County fire truck and a rescue boat arrived at the woman's home just after 7:00 Thursday morning.
Scenes like that played out across Jackson County most of Wednesday and early Thursday. Emergency scanners stayed busy for hours as the waters rose, transforming streets into rivers in a matter of minutes. Moss Point firefighter Derek Etheridge described the scene by saying, "Flooding almost to the windowsills, cars underwater up to the door handles."
During the height of the Wednesday night storm, more than 50 people had to be rescued from flooded cars or homes in Moss Point. Many of those people lived near Rose Road, just west of Highway 63. The evacuees were soaked and tired, however, no serious injuries were reported.
At this hour, all South Mississippi schools are open.
The situation turned dangerous very quickly, according to Moss Point police chief Keith Davis. "The rain started coming in and within an hour we were getting calls asking for help to come get them out of their houses," Davis said.
Past hurricanes couldn't even match the fury of this storm, Etheridge added. "This is probably the fastest it ever rose. Even during Hurricane Isaac we didn't have this kind of water rise quite as quickly as it did tonight."
Residents of the River City, like Kenneth Graves, were caught off guard. "Last hurricane we had this side of the area was very flooded and this side wasn't as much, but I guess it just kind of shifted this time. I don't know what kind of storm cell we had but it was very bad," Graves said.
First responders, like Mike Wilson, had no time to rest. "Very busy for us tonight, both in our district and obviously over here. Several people with cars off the side of the road and most everybody was OK, just a little scared," said Wilson.
Despite the downpour, everything went according to plan, and training for these types of events paid off in the end, according to Etheridge. "The rescue operation went smoothly. We had a lot of help from other organizations that brought in some boats and some high water rescue trucks."
Davis said that effort and help means something more than just a day's work. "As a human being and personally, it gives me satisfaction in knowing that more than likely, we saved someone's life tonight and the men and women in uniform, fire department, police department, those guys have all the credit, they should be credited for saving lives."
In neighboring Pascagoula, the deluge was just as troubling. Low-lying streets were closed. Homeowners evacuated, some even had to be rescued.
Pascagoula firefighters tell WLOX News a seven-year-old child was struck by lightening. And because of the rain and flooding, his parents had a hard time rushing him to the hospital.