April showers the streets of Biloxi
“We’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars in streets and drainage improvements throughout Biloxi, but nothing can handle the torrential downpours that we’ve seen in the past 12 hours,” Mayor A.J. Holloway said this afternoon, after city streets were deluged by 10 inches of rain through mid-morning.
Emergency workers were monitoring the levels of nearby rivers mid-afternoon, and Holloway said personnel and equipment able to navigate flooded streets would be positioned near Highway 67 and low-lying areas of Woolmarket should residents need to be evacuated..
Before daybreak this morning, street flooding forced Biloxi police officers to close sections of U.S. 90 west of Casino Row and near Rodenberg, and other major arteries, such as Division Street also were closed to traffic as water as high as a foot or more gathered in some low-lying areas of the city.
Police officers – some called in before their 7 a.m. shift began -- were busy throughout the morning helping motorists who became stranded after trying to navigate flooded streets. The Biloxi Fire Department, meantime, responded to nearly 20 calls in the three-hour period from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., when typically only a couple of calls would be reported.
By mid-afternoon, most streets had drained. The Public Works and Police departments report that several streets are still closed because of flooding. They include sections of old Highway 67, sections of Cedar Lake Road, Crawford Street at Howard Avenue, Esposito Street at Seal Avenue and Lorraine Road east of the Biloxi River bridge.
Keesler’s weather office reported that 9.92 inches of rain had fallen between during the 15-hour period between 6 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. Friday, with nearly 6 inches of rainfall recorded between 3 a.m. and 9 a.m.
“Things went as well as they could go, considering the tremendous amount of rainfall,” Holloway said. “Areas that have traditionally flooded – such as Crawford at Division, First Street at Pine Street – drained well. We did see standing water at the south end of Crawford, but our new streets – Back Bay Boulevard and Popp’s Ferry Road – handled the water with no problem.
“Years ago, the city designed its drainage systems based on 25-year floods,” Holloway said. “For the past several years, we began designing drainage systems based on 100-year floods. We’ve come a long way, but living in a city on a peninsula with three rivers nearby, we’re going to have days like this.”
To see photos from the April showers, click here.;">
Sports complex ready for opening day on Saturday
City crews and contractors were sweeping up at the Biloxi Sports Complex, where nearly 700 Little Leaguers, parents and others will gather Saturday at 9 a.m. for opening day at the five new baseball diamonds at the complex.
To read more about the complex, click here.;">
Weekend entertainment: Natalie and Placido
Performing in town this weekend are Natalie Cole at the Beau Rivage and Placido Domingo at the Coast Coliseum. The annual Coast Pilgrimage also is underway. For details on these events and others, courtesy of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors bureau listings, click here.
News and notes
City Council agenda: The Biloxi City Council faces an agenda of more than two dozen issues when councilmembers meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. To see the agenda and available resolutions, click here.
Webcast: Hear the weekly review of issues of note in the “City Desk” webcast. To listen, click here.