GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - While all eyes are on the path of Tropical Storm Barry, behind the scenes, Harrison County officials are making sure everyone is on the same page. The stakeholders are connected, with the unified message of the importance of preparation being the common bond.
“Stand by for a net weather message, changing conditions that do impact Harrison County,” said Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy.
Harrison County leaders shared that message the instant Barry became a named storm. The preparation protocol kicked into high gear at the Emergency Management Agency with South Mississippi under the gun from the possibility of rough weather.
Lacy and his staff are in the Emergency Operations Center tracking every possibility. The important thing is communication, making sure all affected interests are in the loop.
“All of our cities are paying attention to what’s going on, our state partners, business, industry. I’ve talked to the casino properties already. They’re implementing some of their high water issues. We still have a period of time that we can pull the trigger on a lot of things,” Lacy said.
With an abundance of rain and the potential for coastal flooding driven by storm surge, the emphasis is on the impact of water.
First responders, those on the front line, are on standby with wisely marshalling resources in mind.
“Responders are gearing up and they will a little more. We don’t want to burn them out because this is going to be a marathon,” Lacy said.
Down on the beach, vendors, already paralyzed by water closures, are watching and waiting. They will remove items if the situation deteriorates. To mitigate the impact of floating debris, the Harrison County Sand Beach Authority moved all trash cans up against the seawall. Even more evasive tactics are on the table.
“If we do have a surge, we don’t want the cans to be floating off so we’ll pick those up off the beach and remove them totally,” according to Sand Beach Director Chuck Loftis.
Everything is in place with up to date information the key.