Harrison County Emergency Management Agency on standby

Emergency management officials throughout South Mississippi are continuously monitoring the tropics.

News 25’s Toni Miles checked in with Rupert Lacy, director of Harrison County Emergency Management Agency  and shows us how the overall plan has somewhat changed this year.

It hasn’t even been three months since Tropical Storm Cristobal made landfall in southeast Louisiana on June 7th, wreaking millions of dollars’ worth of damage in South Mississippi especially in Hancock and Harrison counties.

Now, emergency officials are keeping a close eye on another threat, tropical disturbances, two of them that are expected to enter the Gulf by early next week. Harrison County EMA Director Rupert Lacy said, “It’s not just a Category 3, 4 or 5. Remember one of the things we’ve said already. It’s water. We don’t want people to get in harm’s way because of rising water. That’s where we see loss of life.”

Lacy has been director of the Harrison County Emergency Management Agency since 2008. He points out that even tropical storms like Cristobal can pose a serious threat because of heavy rainfall. It’s too soon to tell if a hurricane will actually form and hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast, but now is the time to prepare and everyone should have a plan in place already. “Look at the science, the official forecast, and don’t wait until the last minute to make a decision if you’re going to leave.”

Of course, there will be COVID-compliant guidelines in place should South Mississippians need to go to a shelter this hurricane season. “Social distancing-we’re going to protect anybody who needs shelter, but part of that shelter but part of that shelter message is that it will be mask required. If you don’t have a mask, we’ll provide you with one. “

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