Biloxi Public Works crews were picking up 1,250 traffic-control barricades along U.S. 90 this morning, as workers throughout city departments took steps to prepare for Hurricane Ida, which is expected to make landfall as a Category 3 hurricane sometime Sunday.
Emergency managers say Ida is forecast to move northwest into the Gulf of Mexico tonight and continue northwestward and intensify Saturday. The storm is expected to impact coastal Louisiana and Mississippi on Sunday as a Category 3 Major Hurricane. Prepare for rainfall of 10-plus inches, a storm surge of 7 to 11 feet, winds gusting to hurricane force and possible short-lived tornadoes.
The Biloxi City Council earlier today declared a state of emergency, empowering Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich to take any necessary steps to protect lives or property. The Police and Fire Departments have extra first-responders working this weekend, and Public Works personnel were standing by to move “road closed” barricades as needed through the weekend.
The Biloxi Port Division, after issuing a recommended evacuation of public harbors and marinas in Biloxi on Thursday, today made it official: Boaters must remove their vessels and belongings from the city’s four marinas and harbors.
Boaters were given until 3 p.m. Saturday, but Port Division managers also notifed boaters that MDOT announced today that the I-110 high-rise would not open its span after 1 p.m. Saturday. The Popp’s Ferry bridge will remain open to marine traffic until winds reach 35 mph.
Port Division Manager Larry Sablich said more than a half of the boaters had moved as of this afternoon, “and we’re making all of them aware that MDOT is closing that span at 1 p.m. They will not be able to come back to the harbor if they miss the deadline.”
A Hurricane Watch and a Storm Surge Watch remain in effect for Harrison County. River Flood Warnings have also been issued for the Wolf, Biloxi, and Tchoutacabouffa Rivers for Sunday and Monday.
“We’re asking everyone to do what we’re doing: prepare and be prepared,” said Mayor Gilich said this afternoon. “We just went through Zeta not too long ago, so everyone knows the steps they need to take. Prepare your property, be safe.”
Elsewhere, the Biloxi Visitors Center, which is usually open daily, will modify its Saturday hours to 8 a.m. to noon and will be closed Sunday. In fact, says Biloxi Chief Administrative Office Mike Leonard, residents should limit travel to necessary trips.
(Source: City of Biloxi)