"It is important for Mississippians to take this storm seriously and prepare now for its potential impact," said Governor Phil Bryant, in a press conference on Sunday afternoon.
Governor Bryant and top state officials addressed the media after hurricane warnings were issued for Mississippi's four coastal counties.
Isaac is on a path toward the Gulf Coast and residents are advised to prepare to evacuate and take personal responsibility by stocking supply kits and doing what's necessary. This just days before the 7th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
"We've hardened most of the structures along the Gulf Coast in the last seven years. A lot of the residents and other buildings have been raised and so when you talk about a storm surge, we've been preparing for that for seven years," added Bryant.
MEMA's director says teams are in place, but tropical force storm winds could be sustained for up to 36 hours, hurricane force winds 6 to 8 hours with rainfall of up to 16 inches and storm surges of 7 to 10 feet.
"This is a huge storm. It's big. Recent updates indicate it's 800 miles across. I don't need to tell you what a big storm like that can do, enormous storm surge," said MEMA Director, Robert Latham.
FEMA's response team is ready to coordinate with state and local officials. Shelters are on standby, but coastal residents are asked to find accommodations with relatives and friends farther north.
"We understand to try to evacuate particularly on a volunteer basis as early as possible. The best thing to do in a storm like this is to get out of its way," Governor Bryant added.
Water temperatures in the Gulf Sunday were 86 degrees, the perfect conditions for Isaac to develop into a Category 2 hurricane.
On its current path, landfall is expected late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.
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