Harrison County businesses brace for tropical storms

Tropics

WAVELAND, Miss. (WJTV) – Emergency officials and people along the Mississippi Gulf Coast are waiting for the impact of Tropical Storm Marco, which is expected to make landfall in Louisiana. Tropical Storm Laura, which is expected to strengthen into a hurricane, is still a couple of days out.

Businesses owners are concerned about possibly closing their stores, because they have already been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more than 30 years, Gary Beglia has served Waveland home cooked meals. He is no stranger to hurricanes. Beglia said it will be a blow if the storms force his business to close.

“If I hadn’t been here for so many years, I’d be bankrupt. There’s no way, and I don’t know how most of these places made it. I don’t think they are. It’s just horribly expensive,” he said.

The business owners caught a break with Marco, which has weakened significantly, but they have no time to rest because Laura is not far behind.

“Some employees live in low lying areas. They have to go bunker down earlier than others. They get in, and they can’t get out or if they get out. They can’t get back in. We basically been through it so many times it works smoothly,” said Beglia.

A weakening Marco is also a relief to emergency officials.

Rupert Lacy, Harrison County EMA Director, said, “What we had was an upper level jet that was just jaunting out enough to take off cloud tops and push some of the rains over towards Pensacola.”

With Marco to the west of Mississippi, it’s created a noticeable storm surge, about two feet in Waveland. Emergency officials believe at high tide, the surge won’t pose a serious threat.

“In the five day forecast, we’re still under the gun for about five inches of rain,” said Lacy.

If conditions worsen in Harrison County, there are shelters set up in Kiln and the First Methodist Church of Columbia. Lacey said they’re prepared to open more shelters, if needed.

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