BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - This weekend, thousands of spring breakers are in town, looking forward to soaking up the sun and having some fun on our beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast. In addition to the official Biloxi Black Beach 2017 events that are happening, many other out-of-towners are also visiting South Mississippi this weekend.
Despite starting out a little chilly on Saturday, the weather is expected to climb into the 70s, with low humidity and clear, blue skies. If you're headed out to the beach this weekend, you'll definitely want to bring some sunblock and sunshades to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Saturday night will see temperatures in the upper 40s along the coast. Sunday is expected to be just as beautiful as Saturday, with temperatures being slightly warmer.
The weekend began Friday night with a concert at MGM Park, followed by the official "Twerk Fest" kick-off party at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. On Saturday, a beach party will be taking place along Biloxi Beach all day, along with the fourth annual car, truck, and bike show at the Coliseum. Saturday will end with the Spring Fest concert, featuring Jezzy, Boosie, Meek Mill, Yo Gotti, YFN Lucci, Migos and Lloyd. On Sunday, the Black Beach Rehab Finale ends the three-day weekend. For tickets to those events, visit the official Biloxi Black Beach Weekend website.
For those attending this year's spring break weekend in Biloxi, event organizers have posted a list of suggested guidelines to help keep everyone safe and ensure a good time is had by all.
With more events happening this weekend and some local businesses extending their business hours to accommodate the large crowds, officials say they are expecting traffic to be heavier and stay that way later than in previous years. In the past, traffic volumes have decreased around 10 p.m., when front beach parking bays close, but the concerts and late-night after-parties are expected to boost the volume of traffic well past midnight this year.
Here's a live look at traffic from the Biloxi Lighthouse to help you if you're heading that way:
To help combat some of the congestion, both Biloxi and Gulfport Police Departments have implemented traffic plans similar to those used during other large events, like Mardi Gras and Cruisin' the Coast. The traffic plan was developed to keep traffic flowing safely and allow accessible roadways to emergency responders.
In some instances, traffic congestion may prompt local authorities to "vent" traffic, funneling it to I-110 to the east and to Cowan Road to the west. Venting, when it occurs, usually continues for 30 to 45 minutes or until traffic is flowing again. The purpose is to avoid gridlock and keep traffic moving at a safe-yet-steady pace. If this happens, notifications will be announced on the city's Facebook page and by WLOX.
The plan has several phases or stages that are implemented as needed. Those stages include restricting the use of left turn lanes, closing intersections, and limiting access to U.S. 90 from connecting streets.
To avoid traffic, locals are advised to avoid Hwy. 90 and use alternate routes wherever necessary, such as Pass Road, Irish Hill Drive, Division Street or Popp's Ferry Road. Heavy and slow-moving traffic should be expected, even on the alternate roads.
People visiting the area are asked to consider parking their vehicles in legal spaces and walking to the beachfront boardwalk to avoid traffic. However, parking bays along the beach close at 10 p.m. Police also have barricades in place, prohibiting pedestrian from crossing anywhere except for designated crosswalks.
For a full list of Frequently Asked Questions, please visit the city of Biloxi's website.