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Coast Area Cities Prepare for Gustav[Image of 5-day forecast of predicted track, and coastal areas under a warning or a watch]
by Keith Burton - GCN   8/29/08

Coast area city leaders are preparing for the possibility that Hurricane Gustav will strike near enough to our area to create problems.

Pascagoula officials have declared a state of emergency to make preparations and position emergency vehicles as part of their preparations. Gulfport officials met today to outline their emergency plans and make preparations, meanwhile Biloxi, Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Long Beach and Pass Christian officials are also making ready for the storm.

Pascagoula  has suspended vacation for emergency personnel and has moved the city's Emergency Operations Center from City Hall to the second floor of the Pascagoula Police Department to avoid potential flooding.

In Biloxi, a special City Council meeting scheduled for Thursday afternoon to discuss the FY 09 municipal budget has been postponed until Tuesday morning at 9.

Forecaster say that Gustav is still too far away to make a specific landfall forecast, however, computer models place Gustav as a category 3 hurricane that will make landfall somewhere along the northern Gulf Coast. That places the Mississippi Coast within the possible strike area, or certainly within an area where the storm will be felt.

Coast area stores are reporting increasing purchases of the typical pre-hurricane items such as bottled water, flashlight batteries and canned foods. Some area gas stations have also seen long lines and even fuel shortages as people fill up vehicles and buy gasoline for generators.

Coast residents are wary, and experienced with hurricanes and are acting accordingly, but are not overly anxious about the storm so far. That anxiety will increase as the forecast position becomes more certain and if it looks like this area will again bare the brunt of the storm. At this point, preparation is the name of the game and so it is for this Katrina-ravaged area.

Forecasters say Gustav will enter the Gulf this weekend and perhaps reach land as a major hurricane by Labor Day.

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