JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi Emergency Management Director Greg Michel admits there are still a lot of variables with Tropical Storm Barry.
“This is kind of a strange storm," explained Director Michel. "This system started on land, went out into the Gulf, got out in that warm water. Water in the Gulf of Mexico is actually higher than it usually is this time of year. So, it swam around out there for a couple of days. And it’s still showing signs of unpredictability.”
But that doesn’t change the fact that they’re positioning resources closer to the first impact areas. The already water-logged lower Delta is of the most concern.
“The rain that will go there will certainly accumulate more in the backwater area which is currently trapped because of the level of the Mississippi River," explained Michel. "The concern is about the water coming back up and causing more damage to infrastructure that’s already been previously damaged.”
And don’t assume that the idea of a tropical system means you’re in the clear if you don’t live along the coast.
“Pretty much follow the Mississippi River until it exits the state," added Michel. "And the bands, particularly on the Eastern side, which is where we’re going to be in Mississippi, that’s the dirty side they call it. And that’s where the majority of the rain and majority of the wind gusts are going to go.”
While the exact details on Barry are still being determined, Michel suggests you don’t wait around to plan ahead.
“Make sure your evacuation routes are not routes that are going to be flooded," said MEMA Director Michel. And always have that 3-5 days emergency supply for your food, water, prescriptions and anything else you’re going to need to sustain your family during a period of time like this.”
There aren’t any current evacuation orders since the backwater area has already been evacuated previously. And there are water rescue crews standing by in the Hattiesburg area in case they are needed for the lower six coastal counties.