South Mississippi On Alert For A Possible Storm

The timing of when a storm over Florida enters the gulf, and when it possibly tracks toward south Mississippi may cause a few headaches at emergency operations centers.

The area will only have about 48 hours to react to the storm. So, the state won't be able to supply evacuation buses to central Mississippi. Consequently, local shelters may be more crowded than normal.

After the beautiful weather the coast had Wednesday, it was hard to imagine that a storm could threaten south Mississippi again. On this sunsplashed Wednesday, the fish were biting off Ken Combs Pier. Seagulls frolicked on the beach without a care in the world. But the slight chop across the horizon painted a much different story. It said all eyes better watch the Gulf of Mexico, because this weekend, the water may get pretty rough.

Gulfport's Brad Felger isn't concerned.

"Since Katrina hit this place, it don't worry me at all," he said.

But the threatening low pressure system does worry Rupert Lacy and every other local emergency official on the coast.

"This is the time to watch the weather," Lacy said.

On the radar is a storm that's tracking over central Florida.

"And then from there, it's a million dollar question," said Lacy.

And so he's in the Harrison County Emergency Operations Center, plotting out when the EOC will spring into action.

"I'm taking the precautionary that we're going to meet, county department heads tomorrow morning," he told one person who called for information.

The uncertainty and the unpredictability of this storm could be a real problem at local emergency operations centers. More than likely, civil defense leaders won't have enough time to get people far away from the coastline. So their initial focus will move people away from FEMA trailers and into any local shelters that potentially open.

"This will put a burden if we have to issue an order to open up shelters. This is going to put more people in our local shelters," said Lacy.

Again, it must be emphasized, nothing has been ordered yet. Nobody's been told to evacuate. And no shelters have been opened. However, if they are, emergency operations officials want people in FEMA trailers to leave, and find a safe place to ride out the storm.