Gustav Makes Landfall
As Hurricane Gustav makes landfall as a Cat 2 storm, concern for Pearlington continues unabated as water breaches the eastbound lanes of Hwy. 90 to the east in Gulfport, MS.
Hwy. 90 continues parallel to the Gulf across the south end of Pearlington. There are several subdivisions south of the highway in Pearlington, as well as homes and businesses just to the north. These include Turtle Landing nightclub, as well as the homes of Susie Sharp, Pam Kirkland and others.
Additionally, many areas - including Pearlington - are under tornado warnings, as serious ones have been clocked as close as the Stennis Base and Biloxi. Fortunately perhaps for Pearlington, they are tending on a north-westerley course.
Unlike Katrina, whose eye was to the east of New Orleans, and in fact right over Pearlington, the wind from Gustav is driving the water directly north from the Gulf onto land and this could be a dangerous situation for Pearlington.
We will continue to monitor the situation. I have contacts I could call on the Gulf for first hand reports, but am loathe to do so while their hands are so full just surviving. I recommend we depend on the excellent coverage CNN is providing, before I seek on-the-ground sitreps of the conditions in and around Pearlington.
Canadian Cell: 705-443-7638
American Cell: not currently activated
Update: 12:30 p.m. EDT - Waveland and Bay Saint Louis reporting sea levels 10 feet above normal. Most levees in New Orleans are over-topping and the ones in Lower and Upper Ninth Ward may be leaking, a prelude to a possible breach....
Update: 2:00 p.m. EDT - It is CONFIRMED that the storm surge in Pearlington is above Hwy.90 and the south end of town. This will mean that residences in Oak Harbor, for instance, will have some flooding, as many are still at the 8.5-9 ft. level; water has not, at this time, risen much more that just over the roadway. By comparison, Katrina was 10-12 feet deeper than current levels. Power is out, of course, so even cell phones must be used judiciously, as they cannot be re-charged easily. We will do our best to get what information we can.
Suffice it to say, it would appear as if our greatest fears have NOT been realized in Pearlington. The day is young, though, and there is much weather yet to come.
Update: 4:20 p.m. EDT - NOT SO GOOD NEWS FOR PEARLINGTON: The water level, the surge, is rising in Pearlington. There are currently 7.5 feet of water in the Turtle Landing bar and Hwy. 90 is now under 3 feet of water. As far up Hwy. 604 as the Fire Department and the PDA Camp, water is moving on the road. As you know, it is not the wind or rain that will lay Pearlington low yet again, it is the water.
PLEASE REMEMBER: ALL THIS INFORMATION IS ANECDOTAL FROM THE GROUND AND CANNOT BE CONFIRMED AT THIS TIME. I WILL DO MY BEST TO CONFIRM IT IN THE HOURS AND DAYS AHEAD.
Pray hard and be ready to help in any way you can. More to come....
Update: 7:30 p.m. EDT - Reports from the Coastal area around Pearlington indicate that the storm surge, while much tamer than Katrina's, has fully breached Hwy. 90 and in the Gulfport/Biloxi area has water flowing right up and into the doors of the casinos there.
In Pearlington, the tide is on its way out and hopefully that will bring some relief. Many of the P'ton folk hunkered down in Picayune, Kiln, Diamondhead and other more northern towns are considering returning to Pearlington tomorrow. Power is off all over the coast and First Responders will be heading into the affected areas tomorrow.
Tonight, we must hold the light against tornadoes and further flooding and pray that Pearlington can begin to breathe again in the morning.
A personal thought: I was there right after Katrina and I am very grateful that the aftermath of Gustav will be nothing of the same. As a Canadian, I am watching your electoral process with interest and note that the timing is good. Let's hope both camps and the President fight over who will be the most magnanimous and quick to respond generously in the wake of Gustav.
My own timing has been interesting, as well. I did not know of the existence of Gustav when I decided that my hiatus from active service in Pearlington was over. As I became re-involved, things began to happen and I believe I once again answered the call.
Judging by the many hundreds of hits on the blog today, this site is still relevant and useful. I will continue then....