Tropical Storm Barry could have impacted county

By PAT BROWN,

Folks just do not realize just how fortunate we are not to have been pounded by Tropical Storm Barry. 

  We are luckier than those people in the southern end of the Mississippi Delta.  They have been flooded since February and the idea of getting dry or planting anything any time soon is pretty well shot now.

  In Simpson County, however, John Kilpatrick, Emergency Management Coordinator, reported only nine trees down and some minor road flooding.  Had we gotten the rain that was predicted--up to 10 inches--we would likely have had roads closed all over the county. 

Other areas were not so lucky. As  Tropical Storm Barry swept through, the largest amount of rainfall was 14.36” in Gillis, La. Near Ocean Springs reports indicated 9.95 inches of rain.  Maximum wind speeds from Friday to Monday were 72 miles per hour at Pinto Island, Ala.  These statistics come from information issued by the Weather Channel.

  The fear was that the storms would deluge the coastal area with rainfall.  While they did get a lot of rain, the total did not meet the up to 24 inches originally forecasted. 

  Storm surge reached seven feet at Amerada Pass, La., at the height of the storm.  It appeared from our perspective that the reporting by the national media was more than a little sensationalized.  Reporters seemed more concerned about creating a story than reporting what the actual story was: a storm which could have been much worse than it turned out to be. 

  It still has the potential to create issues for those people who live and farm in the southern end of the Mississippi Delta.  Because of the path of the storm they will continue to face flooding, probably for quite some time.  It was reported that over 200,000 acres of cropland were not planted this year because of flood waters in the Delta. That’s going to have an economic impact on Mississippi. 

   We must remember that this is just the start of the hurricane season and there will likely be many more opportunities for storms this year. The best thing we can do is to be prepared for bad weather and its aftermath.

  One of the most important things that we must do is not to become complacent.  That is what happened with many people during Hurricane Katrina.  They had been warned of previous storms that didn’t turn out to be so bad. So when the big storm came they did not react appropriately.  Failing to prepare for a serious situation can have dire consequences and can lead to risk of life. 

  Another important thing that can be done is to make preparations for power outages.  The county has faced some temporary outages but nothing thus far that has been long term since Katrina. 

  Spend a little time this month getting ready for what could be much more serious than Barry.