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Biloxi makes early preparations ahead of tropical system

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 4:46 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Biloxi hasn’t hit the panic button yet with the tropical rain threat this weekend, but officials have flipped the prep switch just in case.

No matter what form the system eventually takes, practice makes perfect in storm preparation.

“This is going to be our first one out of the gate,” said Vincent Creel, Biloxi public affairs manager. “It doesn’t sound like it’s going to be anything major but, you still need to prepare.”

The city is doing its part.

“Throughout all departments, they’re checking their buildings,” said Creel. “Our public works crews are out on Pass Road cleaning the storm drains. And, what we’re asking the public to do is the same thing. Look around your house, look around your property. Take the steps that you need to take to make sure you’re prepared for winds and rain.”

The suspected storm surge isn’t enough to worry port manager Larry Sablich but, he’s watching carefully.

“Right now, we’re just kind of in standby mode,” he said. “We’ve asked people to start cleaning their piers off just to be safe.”

Any preparation comes as the harbor is still making repairs from Zeta, like fences that go around the transformer towers, and pier damage that limits docking space for the shrimpers.

“It’s been a problem with getting materials in,” Sablich said. “I’ve got a lot of navigation light damage on our break walls, and I started working all this in November.”

Even if the harbor can handle any tidal surge and the shrimp boats are protected, tropical weather like this is never good for shrimpers. It can take them a long time to get back to business.

“Sometimes a week, sometimes, two weeks,” said long-time shrimper Van Pham. “Because after the storm the weather and the water is kind of messy.”

And, that makes it harder to haul in their product.

Pham has been through a lot of storms, and he’s learned to expect the worst.

“We do prepare, but we don’t prepare enough,” he said. “But when the wind comes, we’re really scared. Right now, we don’t feel nothing. But when it comes, we never know.”

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