PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - South Mississippi missed the brunt of the impact from Hurricane Sally but both longtime Coast residents and elected leaders are reminding people there is no room for complacency when it comes to hurricanes.
Many were out Wednesday surveying the aftermath. Luckily, not much cleanup was required.
Some branches littered Mike Dunn’s front yard, but he wasted no time tackling the task. Dunn is a lifelong South Mississippi resident. His home like so many others on the Mississippi Gulf Coast flooded 15 years ago during Hurricane Katrina.
It’s a thought that always lingers in the back of his mind when a hurricane heads towards Mississippi, and it’s why he is quick to warn others about becoming complacent when faced with a storm.
“You do not know what these things will do," he said. “Just like this one... It was moving two miles per hour, hardly moving at all or sitting still. Them things can pick up and get real strong again so you don’t ever know. My opinion: pay close attention to where it is at. And if it is going to hit here, don’t stay, leave.”
After near misses, especially a series of them, community members can become complacent, which is something elected leaders warn against.
“You just can’t get complacent," said Jackson County Supervisor Randy Bosarge. “You have got to take every storm serious. If it looks like it is going to hit this area, you have got to be prepared.”
High winds and rain caused some damage on the Coast, especially on the east side of Jackson County, but MEMA Director Greg Michel and Gov. Tate Reeves stressed the importance of staying ready.
“We have got to continue to plan for the worst, pray for the best, and expect somewhere in between," said Reeves.
No matter the anxiety caused by Sally’s close call, Mike Dunn won’t be going anywhere. “It’s just a way of life here. If you don’t want to go through that, don’t come close to the water."