Front Beach Marinas, Harbors Mostly Vacant, more Biloxi News

From:  City of Biloxi   10/6/17   GCN

"I just can't say enough about these boat owners, they've been very cooperative," Port Division Manager Larry Sablich said this afternoon. "About 90 percent have evacuated from the city's front beach harbors and marinas, and we have about a dozen and a half that will be evacuating from the Sherman Canaan commercial dock on Back Bay Saturday morning."

Sablich said boat owners, about 300 in all, were originally told they could have until Saturday at noon to move their vessels, but once the storm's project path appeared to shift westward, heightening the threat to Biloxi, the boat owners were notified to relocate their vessels today.

"They were understanding and did their part," Sablich said. "We still have a few issues with out-of-town boat owners and a couple boats that appear to be broken down, but we'll deal with those issues Saturday."

The city, as part of its lease with boat owners, requires boat owners to relocate vessels when storms threaten. Moving vessels helps minimize damage to piers and amenities, protects the vessels themselves, and allows boats to relocate to Back Bay rivers before winds reach 35 mph, when area bridges will not open for marina traffic.

Biloxi operates four public facilities for boaters: the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor, the adjoining commercial dock, Point Cadet Marina and the Sherman L. Canaan Back Bay commercial dock.

See the current local extended forecast
See the National Hurricane Center advisories
 
Debris contractor on standby, if needed

Crowder Gulf, the city's post-storm debris contractor, is now on standby, and, if needed, ready to move into the city to handle any debris in the wake of Tropical Storm Nate.

City Engineer Christy LeBatard spoke this afternoon with the Mobile-based firm, which was one of three contractors that helped haul away more than three million cubic yards of debris throughout the city in the weeks and months after Hurricane Katrina. 

"The city's contract, which we locked in three years ago, calls for the contractor to begin mobilizing 24 hours after the storm and have equipment and manpower here, if needed," LeBatard said. "The Engineering Department, probably on Sunday afternoon, will perform a windshield estimate of the amount of debris throughout the city. That information will help the administration make a decision, working in concert with the City Council, on whether the debris can be handled by the city's Public Works Department or if we need to exercise the contract."

Factors in the decision, Chief Administrative Officer Mike Leonard said, will include the amount of debris, how long it would take to clear, and whether federal or state reimbursement would be available  under any disaster declaration.

Said Leonard: "These are decisions that are certainly down the road, and are influenced by a number of factors that are unknown at this time. However, at this point, it's important that we have timely options available to us, should we need them."

More evaluations: The city's building inspectors also will be making post-storm windshield appraisals of any damage to public facilities, businesses and residences. The assessments would be vital to helping determine any state or federal disaster declaration. 
 
News and notes

Hurricane sirens: The city's hurricane sirens, a tool to raise awareness that the city is under a hurricane warning, will sound at 7 this evening, not 6 as published earlier today. The sirens also will sound Saturday at 7 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Do you know how to prepare for a storm? For the answer, click here.

Waste Pro carts, bins: If Waste Pro - the former garbage, recycling and trash contractor - has failed to remove its carts or recycling bins from curbside by mid-afternoon Saturday, the city is advising residents to store the cart and bin in a secure location until next week.

Public transit: Coast Transit Authority will operate regularly scheduled fixed route bus service from 4:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. No fixed route bus service will operate on Sunday. CTA plans to resume all regularly scheduled bus service on Monday. Questions? Contact CTA at 896-8080 or www.coasttransit.com

Transportation:  Coast Transit is prepared to assist local residents with evacuation transportation if mandatory notices are given for low-lying areas.  To register for the service, click here.

Storm briefings: The city plans to continue publishing local storm briefings, as provided by the National Weather Service, on its Facebook and Twitter pages through the evening.  The storm info line at 228-435-6300 also will be updated as needed, with public and city employee advisories.