Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Shelters Full and Flooding continues in South Mississippi

Richland 09/01/08
Red Cross Shelters Fill to Capacity
Posted: Sep 1, 2008 07:29 PM
Updated: Sep 2, 2008 08:42 AM

Shelters Full to Capacity in Central Mississippi

By Julie Straw

Many people fleeing the gulf were still searching for shelter Monday. 

By 10:00 a.m., American Red Cross officials said every one of their shelters in central Mississippi were at capacity.

Richland High School Gymnasium was one of the first to open, sheltering 172 people from infants to the elderly. Most of the evacuees are from Louisiana and used the gym as a safe haven during Hurricane Katrina. 

Shelter managers say the hardest part has been turning people away without knowing where to send them.

"We did not know what shelters were open or if they were full or what time they were going to open, so that was hard for us," said shelter manager Mary Alic Hydrick. "We had servicemen to come in and say they had been in Iraq and they were home and they were looking for a place to stay, and we had to turn them away also -- after they had been over there fighting for us."

The American Red Cross says it has been working with local city governments and private organizations, helping them open shelters of their own.

The Clarion Ledger

Flash-flood and tornado watches will continue today and into Wednesday, as the remnants of Hurricane Gustav linger in the region, spinning out heavy rains and wind throughout much of the state.

“In some portions of east Mississippi, they’ve had 10 inches of rain,” said Mark McAllister, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson.

“Gustav is not moving very much; it’s stuck over Louisiana right now.

“So the risk of heavy rains, gusty winds and isolated tornadoes remains. Flash flood watches will continue until about 7 p.m. Wednesday.”

Flash flood watches cover an area from Greenville in the Delta’s Washington County, east to Louisville and southeast from there to DeKalb in Kemper County, which borders Alabama.

As of mid-afternoon, tornado watches were in effect along and east of the Mississippi River, except in some areas of north Mississippi, including Starkville and Macon, McAllister said.

North of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, heavy rains continued to pound portions of the state, especially southwest Mississippi. 

As of mid-afternoon, Franklin County had absorbed at least six inches of rain since 7 a.m., McAllister said.

“They had to take in a boat to get some of the people out,” said Mark Thornton, Franklin County’s emergency management director.

“As long as I’ve lived here, 48 years, I’ve never seen as much water as we’ve had from flash flooding. In Bude, it’s more water than I’ve ever seen.”

Around noon today, it was in or near the rain-soaked town of Bude that firefighters, first responders and county officials rescued a total of eight or so residents from two mobile homes and one house, Thornton said.

“Trees are down, and about three-fourths of the county is without power, at least. There’s some power in Meadville and some in Bude,” he said.

“We’ve been informed that it will be seven to nine days before the power is back.

“And right now it’s raining so hard, I’m looking out the window and can hardly see across the road.”

P.S. Bude/Franklin County is where my parents live. Daddy has been busy, and looks like he will be that way for several days. He says there are lots of trees down throughout the whole county.

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