By NEMS Daily Journal
Hurricane Isaac, slow-moving and overflowing with rain, drenched portions of south Mississippi late Tuesday and Wednesday, but our state, having remembered Hurricane Katrina’s devastation almost exactly seven years earlier, had resources and people in place to meet emergency needs, as much as people can prepare for the uncontrollable.
Louisiana took the brunt of Isaac’s strongest winds, storm surges and flooding rain, but the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s life was not without interruption, and relatively minor damage had been reported by late Wednesday afternoon.
Gov. Phil Bryant acted early and thoroughly in mobilizing the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency’s resources, and he skipped the Republican Party’s presidential nominating convention to keep personal watch at home, the right decision symbolically and substantively.
The creeping pace was forecast to put Isaac near the extreme southwestern corner of Mississippi along the Louisiana line this morning,
Isaac had been downgraded to a tropical storm by Wednesday afternoon, remaining dangerous but with lower maximum winds. At about 3 p.m., trees were reported felled in Hazelhurst and Brookhaven, cities south of Jackson, by the storm’s winds.
Earlier, heavy rains and storm surge had closed portions of Highway 90 along on the Mississippi coastline, and a full curfew remained in effect in some places along the Coast until today.
The precautions and curfew enforcement undoubtedly saved lives and spared many unnecessary risk of injury.
It is hard to single out every organization and agency for a job well done, but Mississippi Public Broadcasting remained on the air and online with frequent and timely updates, including special bulletin warnings for tornadoes and flash flooding.
The governor and local emergency management agencies began urging evacuations early out of an abundance of caution. Thousands heeded those urgings; some who didn’t leave found themselves stranded by rising water in their neighborhoods and had to be rescued, incidents that were fully avoidable.
Mississippi also shut down the 12 shorefront casinos, all sources of major tax revenue and jobs every day they’re open.
Hurricane Isaac zigged and zagged up the Florida coast and across the Gulf of Mexico before nature’s compass set it on a course for the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Our state’s leaders, planners and emergency agencies did all that was humanly possible to lessen the impact and deal with it on arrival. That’s the best anyone can expect.