While current tracking models show Tropical Storm Isaac increasing to a Category 1 hurricane and making landfall just west of the mouth of the Mississippi River, Stone County officials gathered Monday to prepare for any eventuality.
Forecasts released at 4 p.m. Monday showed the storm increasing in intensity as it moved through Louisiana before dying down as it moved through Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois.
With the storm going west, the likelihood of South Mississippi getting the worst of the northeast quadrant of the storm increased.
"We're on the worst side and that's where you get the most tornadoes," said Stone County Emergency Management Agency Director Raven James.
James was speaking to a gathering at the Stone County courthouse which included elected county and city officials, county workers, members of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Red Cross, Mississippi State Department of Health and law enforcement and fire department representatives.
James said Stone COunty could expect winds up to 75-80 miles-per-hour and as much as 16 inches of rain.
He warned that predictions are just that and the threat of a full-scale hurricane had not lessened.
"If the storm shifts just a little bit to the east, we'll be dead center again," he said.
The Stone County School District and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College cancelled classes for today and Wednesday and hoped to resume a normal schedule on Thursday.
Stone COunty has four emergency shelters and they will be opened as the need arises.
First to open would be the shelter at Stone Elementary, followed by the shelter at Perkinston Elementary. If necessary, the shelter at Stone High would open next followed by the New Hope Road shelter.
"I very seriously doubt whether we'll have to open all of them," James said.
One piece of news to come out of the meeting was the fact Stone County has no gas stations with backup generators.
Should power fail, it may be a while before fuel is once again available.
Lines formed at stations throughout the county Monday.
Linda Breaux, a manager at Piggly Wiggly said her store planned to close at 7 p.m. today and would reopen as the weather dictated.
Officials at Walmart said a decision on closing would not be reached until today.
The Bank of Wiggins will close at 1 p.m. today and reopen Thursday.
No other closings had been announced as of press time.