Mississippians should prepare for a stormy weekend. Forecasters say a tropical storm is moving toward the Gulf Coast. The governor and emergency management officials are checking on preparedness in coastal counties where a flood watch is in effect.
One week into hurricane season, tropical storm Cristobal is heading toward the Gulf Coast with maximum winds of 40 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. Governor Tate Reeves held his regular press briefing in Gulfport today to talk about hurricane season amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Natural disasters and particularly with tropical storms tropical depressions that can turn into actual hurricanes it complicates matters,” said Reeves.
“It really complicates matters. As we’re trying to do sheltering, we’re having to do things that are a little bit more complicated and a little bit more difficult.”
COVID-19 safety guidelines require emergency shelters to be at least 120 square feet in order for people to spend the night and social distance. That limits the number of people that can stay at any one facility.
MEMA Executive Director Greg Michel says they’re working on increasing the number of shelters in coastal counties and across the state. He says additional precautions will be strictly enforced to limit transmission of COVID-19.
“Anyone coming into a shelter this hurricane season will be required to wear a mask when you come in,” said Michel.
“The mask will be provided. They will be required to maintain hygiene as best as they can and social distancing will be enforced to the best it can be,” he said.
If possible, Michel is asking people to stay with a nearby friend or relative and make going to a shelter their last resort.