Emergency Leaders Prepare For Hurricane Dean

As Hurricane Dean continues to churn in the Atlantic, emergency officials in south Mississippi are preparing for the storm.

While Dean's anticipated path is toward South Texas, emergency management leaders say they will be ready just in case Dean takes a turn towards Mississippi.

Emergency Management Directors from Mississippi's six coastal counties gathered to synchronize plans in case Hurricane Dean threatens the state.

Leaders held a conference call with MEMA and several other state leaders to make sure 'everyone' is on the same page.

"We are trying to collectively work because if the three coastal counties, we have to work together on our evacuation. We are still without a couple of bridges and we don't have those routes going north and we have to do this in a timely fashion to get our citizens out of harms way," says Rupert Lacy, with Harrison County's Emergency Management Agency.

Lacy says even though evacuation plans are in order, it is crucial that every person in the state have their own plan of action.

"If you are staying in your own home, have the supplies for five days to sustain yourself. But if you live in a low-lying are or a modular home, we would encourage you to be ready to evacuate when we start giving evacuation notices," Lacy said.

Jackson County EMA Director Butch Loper agrees.

"Be alert of where you are, where you live, what county you live in and which roads are open. Each one of us have different circumstances when it comes to our roads," Loper said.

Loper says Hurrican Dean may reach category five status within a matter of days and even though it's not threatening South Mississippi right now, Hurricane Dean shouldn't be taken lightly.

"Anytime we have anything threatening the Gulf of Mexico, everyone needs to monitor it closely. Things can change so rapidly with tropical systems and just about the time and turn your head, it may be knocking on your back door," Loper said.

Emergency leaders say they will be working around the clock to keep track of the storm.