Residents of Warren County can expect winds of over 30 mph and 5 to 8 inches of rain as Hurricane Ida makes landfall somewhere along the Louisiana / Mississippi Gulf Coast on Sunday after- noon or early Monday, according to information from the National Weather Service Office in Jackson.
At 4 p.m. Friday, Ida, which formed in the Caribbean last week, had maximum sustained winds clocking in at 80 mph. It is predicted that it may be a weak Category 3 storm with winds of 111 mph or more when it makes landfall.
Projections from the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla. Indicate that Ida will make landfall along the Louisiana coast south of New Orleans, Louisiana, then move northeast, passing through the east of Vicksburg. Hurricane watch has been issued for an area from Cameron, Louisiana to the Mississippi-Alabama border and includes New Orleans.
Locally, the main impact will be local flooding and wind, said Ashlyn Jackson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
“The central northeastern Mississippi will have limited threat with winds of 30 to 45 mph with downed trees and power lines and possibly isolated blackouts depending on the strength of the winds,” Jackson said.
She said a total of 6 to 10 inches of rain is expected over the area over the next five days with the possibility of 5 to 8 inches of fall as the storm pushes inland.
Warren County Emergency Management Director John Elfer said one of the storm models presented at a National Weather Service briefing indicated the potential for 60 mph winds in the area. In addition, he said, there is a possibility of “pop-up” tornadoes as the storm passes.
“People have to start preparing,” he said. “They need to make sure they have enough food and water to last 72 hours. If they have a generator, they should make sure it is plugged in properly and well ventilated to avoid carbon monoxide (exposure). It’s not a bad idea to get the cash and make sure they have all of their meds.
“Don’t wait until the last minute because people are going to panic buying and there will be nothing left in the stores,” he said.
The most important thing, Elfer said, is that people need to make sure they have a way to get emergency alerts, whether through Code Red or weather apps on their cellphones or NOAA weather radio.
“They have to be careful,” he said. “I spoke to people today who had no idea we were going to have a storm at the end of the weekend and early next week.”
Elfer also said people need to pack a survival kit that can allow them to go up to 48 hours without outside help.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency website has a few suggestions for a survival kit:
• Flashlight (s) with additional batteries.
• A portable radio with extra batteries.
• A NOAA weather radio.
• Non-perishable food for at least three days.
• Bottled water (1 gallon per person per day).
• First aid kit with prescription drugs.
• Bedding and clothes for each member of the family.
• Blankets and towels
• Plastic crockery and cutlery.
• Rain jackets and pants.
• Sunscreen, sunglasses and mosquito repellent.
• Baby supplies such as food, diapers and medicine.
• Pet supplies such as food, leash and carrier, and vaccination records.
• Sanitary supplies.
• Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, cleanser, bleach, sanitary wipes, toilet paper, garbage bags.
• Feminine hygiene products.
• Copies of important documents.
• Driver’s license, social security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, medical records and family photos.
• Enough cash to stock up on gasoline and travelers’ checks.
• An emergency generator.
• A bicycle helmet.