Attention Focuses on Storm-Swollen Rivers

From:  City of Biloxi   6/21/17   GCN

“There’s no doubt we still have a dangerous situation with the rising rivers north of the Bay, but we’re thankful that things have not been as serious as they could have been,” Biloxi Chief Administrative Officer Mike Leonard said this afternoon of the intermittent showers associated with Tropical Storm Cindy.

Biloxi remains under a tornado warning — meaning conditions are favorable for a tornado to form — until 7 this evening (Wednesday).

According to the National Weather Service, heavy rainfall is expected to continue as the storm moves across portions of the Gulf Coast which could cause life-threatening flash flooding. Six to 9 inches of rain with an isolated maximum amount of 12 inches over southeastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama and western portions of the Florida Panhandle are expected through Thursday.  

Biloxi Police closed several perennially flooding streets this morning, including areas of U.S. 90, but most, save for Cedar Lake Road at the Cedar Lake bridge and the Popp’s Ferry causeway, were re-opened hours later. Public Works crews spent three hours this morning removing a large water oak that had fallen across Rich Avenue in west Biloxi this morning. Crews also spent the day checking storm drains in low-lying areas.

“We’re certainly not out of the woods yet,” Leonard said. “We still have some issues to deal with, but our folks have done a good job in this situation, which is a warm-up for what can come later this storm season. Everyone, our people, the public, the business community, needs to remain vigilant in preparations and in following through with a plan.”

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What to expect on the rivers

Here’s the latest on the rivers from local emergency  managers:

The Biloxi River flood stage is at 12 feet. The river at 1:41 p.m. today was at 14.78 feet, and is expected to crest at 17 feet tonight at 9 and will not be below flood stage until Saturday at 10 a.m.

The Tchoutacabouffa River flood stage is at 8 feet.  The river as of 1:41 p.m. was at 9.49 feet. The Tchoutacabouffa is expected to crest at 16 feet this evening at 10 and will not be below flood stage until Thursday night at 10.

The river flooding information can change based on the rain total amounts for the area. 
 
The sound of silence?

The city planned to test its emergency siren system next week, but a tornado warning today pressed the citywide system into service a week early, and it was obvious why testing was needed.

When the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning this morning, which is supposed to trigger the sounding of the sirens throughout the city, only a handful functioned properly.  

“We currently have a technician on the way to look into the issue,”Biloxi Emergency Manager and Fire Battalion Chief Michelle Crowley said. “We are working as quickly as possible to get all the sirens up and running as quickly as possible.”  

In the meantime, stay tuned to local news as well as the City of Biloxi’s Facebook page and the City of Biloxi Info line at 228-435-6300. 
 
News and notes

R U Ready:  The second installment of the City of Biloxi’s three free storm preparedness education events is this evening from 5 to 7:30 at the Donal M. Snyder Sr. Community on Pass Road.  To see the flyer, click here.  To see images from last night’s event, click here.

Father of the Year:  Robert Collier was named the Father of the Year during a Biloxi Lions Club luncheon today at the Biloxi Yacht Club. Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich proclaimed the day as “Mark Barhanovich Father of the Year Robert Collier Day,” an annual honor that draws its name from the well-known Biloxian who died in a boating accident a few years ago. To see images from the ceremony, click here.

To see video from the ceremony, including Collier’s heartfelt remarks of appreciation, click here.