JACKSON — A state of emergency was declared Friday along the Mississippi Gulf Coast ahead of tropical storm Bonnie’s projected movement into the Gulf of Mexico.
Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant issued the statement on behalf of Gov. Haley Barbour, who was in California on business.
The declaration for Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties makes state resources, including the National Guard and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, available to local officials to respond to an emergency.
Barbour said in statement that Bonnie, while not a hurricane, could be expected to have some effect on coastal areas.
Barbour said strong winds and storm surge might cause some more oil from the BP spill to come ashore, including areas previously unaffected by the spill.
Bonnie weakens to tropical depression over Gulf
MIAMI — Bonnie has weakened to a tropical depression with winds near 35 mph (55 kph) after crossing Florida.
Forecasters with the U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm was over the Gulf just off Naples, Fla. late Friday.
Forecasters said the center of Bonnie came ashore Friday midday near Cutler Bay, about 20 miles south of Miami.
Bonnie is expected to strengthen as it moves over the Gulf. The storm is moving west-northwest near 18 mph (30 kph).
The Associated Press