MEMA Director Worries Dennis Could Be A Menace - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

07/06/05

MEMA Director Worries Dennis Could Be A Menace

MEMA Director Robert Latham stopped by the Harrison County Civil Defense Office Wednesday morning, hours after Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall. The storm dumped a lot of rain on South Mississippi, knocked out power to thousands of homes, but he says overall, it caused very little damage.

"We had approximately 12 homes in Henderson Point with some water in them. Those areas typically flood," Robert Latham said.

Latham's focus is now on Hurricane Dennis, churning in the Caribbean, and could reach shore early Monday. Latham is concerned that the storm could intensify into a Category three hurricane.

"The projected path of Dennis is very similar to Ivan. It's maybe a little further south. That's bad for us, because that means it has to take a harder turn to the East to avoid the Mississippi Gulf Coast."

Latham says his biggest challenge is making sure we all take this storm seriously.

"I'm scared that people will look back at last year and say you know they kept telling us about Ivan, and it turned. I was stuck in traffic for about 12 hours and evacuated. I'm not doing that again. I'm just going to ride it out and I think that's dangerous."

Latham's goal is to get people out of harm's way and get them home safely. That's why he's encouraging everyone to prepare now.

"I would like to be able to come down here after a major hurricane and all we've got is property damage and not a single life lost."

We're only a month into this year's hurricane season, and we've already had four named storms. Latham thinks that's the first time in history that's ever happened this early in the season.

by Trang Pham-Bui

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