A weekend that was supposed to be filled with celebrations of June 19 and Father’s Day has turned gloomy on the coast of Louisiana and Mississippi, where Tropical Storm Claudette has brought wind, heavy rain and flooding to a region. where some have sandbags left from last year’s record. -the hurricane season.
Claudette formed Saturday morning along the Gulf Coast, about 45 miles (75 kilometers) southwest of New Orleans, the National Hurricane Center announced in a 4 a.m. advisory.
The Claudette center was located inland, and the storm was forecast to weaken into a depression Saturday night.
With virus restrictions relaxed and summer nearing, business owners on the Gulf Coast had been anticipating an influx of tourist cash after a year of lost revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic and relentless storms. But those hopes have been clouded by the storm.
“My biggest concern is that a busy weekend is going away and it may end up raining a lot,” said Austin Sumrall, owner and chef of White Pillars restaurant and lounge in Biloxi, Mississippi. He had 170 reservations on his books for Sunday, but was concerned that some customers would cancel. “We saw, especially last year, that the carpet can come out from under you pretty quickly,” he said.
The storm was expected to dump five to 10 inches (13 to 25 cm) of rain along parts of the Gulf Coast, even 15 inches (38 cm) in isolated areas, according to forecasters from the hurricane center.
The floods had already started overnight from Friday to Saturday, with local reports of high tide on the roads and vehicles stranded. Flash flood warnings dotted the coast, while flood warnings were in effect inland for parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and central and northern Georgia.
In Louisiana, the threat came a month after spring storms and flooding that have been blamed for five deaths, and as parts of the state continued a slow recovery from the brutal 2020 hurricane season.
That included Tropical Storm Cristobal that opened the season last June, Hurricanes Laura and Delta that devastated southwestern Louisiana, and Hurricane Zeta that downed trees and left New Orleans without power for days in October.
Claudette had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 km / h). It was moving northeast Saturday morning at 12 mph (19 km / h).
“I hope it comes in and out,” said Greg Paddie, manager of Tacky Jack’s, a restaurant in Alabama’s Orange Beach.
Paddie said the restaurant still had sandbags left over from preparations for Hurricane Sally last year. That September storm, blamed for two deaths, knocked ships ashore and left hundreds of thousands of people without power in Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.
Disappointment was evident in the voice of Seneca Hampton, organizer of the Sixteenth Freedom Festival in Gautier, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She spent weeks organizing food trucks, vendor face painting and free hamburgers and hot dogs for the event, which was highly anticipated because it was canceled last year due to the pandemic and due to the June 19th re-designation as a federal holiday.
“It’s something that means a lot to people,” Hampton said.
Gautier’s event was postponed until next month. A 19th event in Selma, Alabama, was postponed until August.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism