By Galen Holley/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Relief agencies in Tupelo prepared Friday for the possibility of damaging weather over the Labor Day weekend.
As Tropical Storm Lee bore down on the Gulf Coast, The Salvation Army went on official standby.
In Tupelo, the Army’s mobile canteen was loaded with bottled water and enough food to feed 500. The canteen recently was restocked after returning from Hackleburg, Ala., where Army personnel used it to feed victims of the April 27 tornado.
The Salvation Army in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama placed 24 mobile feeding units on standby Friday, along with a 54-foot field kitchen.
According to meteorologist Jonathan Howell with the National Weather Service in Memphis, Lee was expected to make landfall along the Louisiana coast within 48 hours. Wind gusts of 60 mph had been recorded on off-shore oil rigs as the slow-moving storm continued to gain strength, Howell said.
The Northeast Mississippi Chapter of the American Red Cross was also on alert Friday. Director Patty Tucker said her office was communicating with the Mississippi Emergency Management Association and giving notice to some 75 local, trained volunteers that their services might be needed.
One of the Red Cross’ two emergency response vehicles, is in North Carolina serving victims of Hurricane Irene, which earlier in the week slammed the Atlantic coast. The other ERV, Tucker said, was stocked and ready for deployment.
Starting early Sunday, Northeast Mississippi could receive four inches of rain and 30-40 mph wind gusts as the storm moves through, Howell said.