Civil Defense Directors Prepare For Whatever Storm May Bring

A state of emergency was declared Saturday afternoon in Harrison and Jackson counties as Tropical Storm Barry loomed out in the Gulf.

All three coastal counties have activated their emergency operations centers to prepare for whatever the storm brings. In Harrison County this afternoon, officials were tracking the storm, and calling local officials to notify them about their plans.

"This is our get ready mode," Harrison County Civil Defense Director Linda Rouse said. "That's what we're in right now, and hopefully, we will fair really well with it, but we want to be ready, prepared."

Harrison County Civil Defense activated the emergency operation center at ten this morning when we went under a tropical storm watch. Jackson County Civil Defense officials were also busy fielding calls and making preparations. Staff members say they knew early on that it was going to be a busy weekend.

"We had everything on stand by Friday, that way all we have to do is press a button and it would get into motion on Saturday," Jackson County Civil Defense Director Todd Adams said.

Officials want residents to be ready for rain if Barry comes close to the Mississippi's coast.

"We know we are going to get some rain out of this," Adams said. "The rivers are going to go up over the next few days. So we know we have got a lot of planning to do."

Planning was the main topic of conservation at the annual Jackson County hurricane awareness fair. The fair was one of three held in each of the Coast counties. County and city leaders passed out a new hurricane flood map, developed by the army corps of engineers to show home owners what type of flooding a storm could bring to this area.

Officials with the Civil Defense say the news that Tropical Storm Barry is headed east is good news, but they will continue to man their emergency operation centers until the threat has passed.