JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - A forecast track like Tropical Storm Gordon's puts the wheels in motion for a state plan of action. As it inches closer to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is ready to respond.
MEMA started out with a virtual activation of the State Emergency Operations Center. Now, they'll have staff there throughout the night monitoring the forecast and more folks prepared to step in as Gordon gets closer to landfall.
"It's better to over prepare than to not have things ready at a moment's notice," said External Affairs Officer Ray Coleman. "So, for us, if we're wrong we're wrong. That just means we have a good opportunity to test and see what we're good at and not so good at. But for us, we just want to be ready."
"Ready" will look different as the storm gets closer. For now, it means sending MEMA personnel to the coastal counties and helping with sandbag supplies. And getting information out to everyone with each renewed update from the weather service.
"My worry is that people might get hurricane amnesia where they feel like oh last year wasn't so bad," noted Coleman. "My thing is, no two storms are alike. Just because you made it through Hurricane Nate last year doesn't mean that this one will be the same."
They're also asking that you don't get too stuck on these pictures of the forecast track.
"Even though you may be outside that cone, you could still see the effects of it," Coleman explained. "There could be heavy rain, localized flooding and gusty winds."
MEMA says the greatest threat is heavy rainfall and flooding, along with hurricane-force winds which will impact much of South Mississippi and three to five feet of storm surge. If you don't live along the coast, still keep an eye on the forecast.
"Be mindful of it. When it's all over, we can all breathe a sigh of relief," Coleman said. "But in the meantime, just be ready."
Folks from other state agencies and non-profits will be arriving a the emergency operations center tomorrow morning to both monitor conditions and make sure the impacted counties have access to the resources they need.