While Tropical Storm Cristobal caused quite a stir in Hancock, Stone and Jackson counties on Sunday, Stone County emerged relatively unscathed.
“We had a few trees down, but that was about it,” a spokeswoman for Stone County Emergency Management Agency Director Raven James said. “We didn’t have any major incidents.”
Cristobal made landfall in Louisiana near Grand Isle at around 5 p.m. Sunday and — although it was later downgraded to a tropical depression — sent a surprising amount of rain and storm surge to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
There was heave street flooding in much of the low-lying areas in Hancock County, and heavy pier damage in Gulfport and Biloxi.
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Gregory Michel said Monday during Gov. Tate Reeves’ COVID-19 press conference that Cristobal created “significant coastal flooding.”
Michel said Cristobal was merely a prelude to what the National Hurricane Center is predicting to be a highly active hurricane season.
Hurricane season began on June, and “An above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected,” according to forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. “The outlook predicts a 60 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 30 percent chance of a near-normal season and only a 10 percent chance of a below-normal season. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.
“In the same manner that we are asking folks to not take the COVID virus for granted, and we should not-- a lot of people tend to take these early storms... and take them for granted,” Michel said. “I just want to reiterate to everyone as we get into hurricane season, it is projected to be an active season.”
“As with every hurricane season, the need to be prepared is critically important this year,” according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“Social distancing and other CDC guidance to keep you safe from COVID-19 may impact the disaster preparedness plan you had in place, including what is in your go-kit, evacuation routes, shelters and more. With tornado season at its peak, hurricane season around the corner, and flooding, earthquakes and wildfires a risk year-round, it is time to revise and adjust your emergency plan now,” said Carlos Castillo, acting deputy administrator for resilience at FEMA. “Natural disasters won’t wait, so I encourage you to keep COVID-19 in mind when revising or making your plan for you and your loved ones, and don’t forget your pets. An easy way to start is to download the FEMA app today.”