MDOT prepares for potential impacts of Tropical Storm Gordon
JACKSON, MISS. – As Tropical Storm Gordon continues to move into the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) is preparing for the storm to make landfall along Mississippi’s coastal counties.
According to the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC) most updated forecast, hurricane and tropical storm warnings are in effect for the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The NHC forecast predicts Gordon to be a Category 1 storm (winds near 80 mph) at landfall late Tuesday night.
“What many people don’t realize is that MDOT crews are considered first responders when severe weather, including tropical storms and hurricanes, moves through the state,” said Commissioner Tom King, Southern Transportation District. “MDOT is on scene immediately after the storm passes to remove debris from affected roadways to clear a path for emergency, law enforcement and disaster relief personnel.”
MDOT is continuing to keep a close eye on the forecast models released by the NHC and the National Weather Service (NWS). MDOT is also working closely with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to prepare for Tropical Storm Gordon.
“MDOT crews in South Mississippi are using the NHC and NWS forecasts to make necessary preparations for Gordon’s potential impact to the Coast,” King said.
MDOT crews throughout South Mississippi began preparing for response efforts early this morning by coordinating supplies and traffic control trailers, gassing up vehicles and equipment, sharpening tools such as chainsaws, programming dynamic message sign (DMS) boards, staging equipment for quicker response times and securing active highway maintenance and construction projects.
Crews will also be lowering some high-mast lighting systems along the Interstate 10 corridor to prevent them from acting as sails and becoming projectiles during high winds. Additionally, sand removal crews will be on standby, with equipment ready, should sand removal efforts along U.S. Highway 90 be needed.
MDOT Law Enforcement officers are also prepared and on standby to assist MDOT maintenance crews and local law enforcement with traffic control as needed.
Motorists should also be prepared to encounter congestion near drawbridges. There is potential for the drawbridges to be in use more frequently as marine vessels seek shelter.
“The weather is unpredictable. MDOT can only go by what the expert forecasts are saying,” said King. “MDOT crews will be ready to quickly respond to any and all impacts this storm brings to Mississippi.”
For more information about what you can do to prepare for hurricane conditions, visit GoMDOT.com/hurricanes.
For information and tips on driving during severe weather, visit GoMDOT.com/drivesmartms.
For the most current traffic and travel conditions, visit MDOTtraffic.com and follow @MississippiDOT on Twitter.