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Tropical Storm Debby Puts Mississippi on Alert

By Rhonda Miller | Published 24 Jun 2012 07:28pm | comments
Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy

The slow-moving and unpredictable Tropical Storm Debby in the Gulf of Mexico has emergency responders in Mississippi on alert.  While coastal flooding is the main concern, MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports there’s never certainty about what Mother Nature might do.

In the Harrison County emergency operations center in Gulfport, Director Rupert Lacy spent Sunday making sure Tropical Storm Debby didn’t pull any surprises on Mississippi. With forecast models contradicting each other about whether the storm would go east or west, Lacy worked with Mississippi Emergency Management Agency staff arriving at the center and fielded continuing phone calls asking for his outlook for Debby.

"It is probably a forecaster’s nightmare. One, because it’s not a defined center of circulation. It is asymmetric. That makes it hard, everything is on the east or the northeast quadrant."

Forecasters from the National Weather Service said Debby could bring strong winds, heavy rainfall and above normal tides to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Lacy said coastal flooding is a threat until Debby says her final goodbye. And when she goes, he said to remember Debby’s message.

"This a time that we should be planning and preparing because this is early into the season. Does it mean that we’re going to have more? We don’t know. But as we’ve seen with Debby, it’s what we call that homegrown storm. It spun up in the Gulf of Mexico and we didn’t have four or five days to come across the Atlantic."

Emergency officials say residents across the state should have an all-hazard kit with important documents, food, water and medical supplies for several days. The other critical part of preparation is have an evacuation route, a safe destination and to make sure all members of the family know the plan.



Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy



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