After Tropical Storm Cindy formed Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico, state agencies began urging residents to gear up for worst-case scenarios.
While the storm remains stalled off the Gulf coast, it is expected to move northwest into the Southwest Louisiana coast by Wednesday night, the National Weather Service in New Orleans announced Tuesday afternoon.
Southeast Louisiana and South Mississippi may get hit with heavy rainfall and flooding Tuesday night through Thursday, with potential for isolated tornadoes. The Mississippi Coast could see one to three feet of flooding, the NWS said.
Lee Smithson, executive director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, said during a news conference Tuesday the storm’s main impact on Mississippi would be intense rainfall and flooding. He said Mississippi could be hit with 4 to 8 inches of rainfall, while some areas could experience up to 15 inches of rainfall.
“In Mississippi, the county right now most susceptible to widespread flooding is Jackson County, the furthest east county,” Smithson said. “ … This is a rain event, not a tropical storm event for Mississippi.”
Smithson said the storm will affect one-third, and possibly up to half, of the state from Adams to Tishomingo counties and below.
He said residents should not be out on roads unless have to and that people living in low-lying areas plan to evacuate if waters begin to rise.
Other state agencies, such as the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, advise residents to assemble an emergency kit with flashlights, first-aid supplies and other essentials. Residents should also stock up on food and water in case their power is out for several days, and make note of where shelters are.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service on Tuesday also released food-safety advice for residents impacted by severe weather.
The department recommends freezing water in one-quart plastic storage bags or small containers to fit around the food in the refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cold and freezing typically-refrigerated items like leftovers, milk and fresh meat to keep them at a safe temperature longer.
Coolers can also help keep refrigerator food cold if power is out for more than four hours, they said. It is also best to have a few days’ worth of non-perishable, ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling.
The department also recommends using dry or block ice to keep refrigerators as cold as possible during an extended power outage. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.
Meanwhile, they advise discarding any perishable food such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or leftovers that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.