Tropical Storm Gordon swept over the Mississippi-Alabama border Tuesday night, knocking out power for thousands of Mississippians in the storm’s path.
It was expected to make landfall as a hurricane but never reached sufficient strength. On Wednesday, Gordon was reclassified as a tropical depression. Since then, the storm has dropped heavy rains across Mississippi but has spared the families and communities of two Ole Miss students.
Mississippi reported no major destructions or casualties, but the storm caused a tree limb to fall on a mobile home in Pensacola, Florida, killing a 2-year-old child.
“Hearing (that) a baby’s life (was) taken due to extreme weather is always saddening,” Naoime Young, an Ocean Springs native, said. “Whether it is thousands (of lives) or one life taken — no matter what, it is a detrimental impact and (is) sad information for all coastal residents.”
Young, a junior integrated marketing communications major, asked her family if they had been affected at all, to which they responded, “No, not one hair.”
However, she wasn’t afraid for her family. They lived on the coast when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005; they evacuated for it and all tropical storms or hurricanes after that. Now they’re used to it, she said.
“During this time of the year, the television in the living room is solely on our local news channel, WLOX, and we keep a close eye on updates in case of a possible unfortunate turn of events,” Young said.
Flash flood warnings were issued from the Florida panhandle up through parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa and Illinois.
Young’s mom stocked her car with supplies and filled it with gas in case water got into gas lines, advising Young to do the same even though she’s in Oxford.
Taylor Creel, a junior marketing major from Biloxi, said his parents told him the only effect back home from Gordon was rain.
Hurricanes are a constant threat from June to October, and Creel described hurricane season as always being scary when it comes around.
He said his family often puts up window shutters, fills the bathtub with water in case pipes burst and buys plenty of food and water.
Even though Creel’s family wasn’t affected this week, Gordon caused him to think back to Hurricane Katrina.
When Creel was seven years old, he and his parents experienced Katrina, a category 3 hurricane — that is, one with 100-140 mph sustained winds — when it made landfall on Mississippi’s coast, with winds stretching across 400 miles.
“We lost everything,” Creel said.
While his mom, a nurse, stayed to work in the hospital, he evacuated to Jacksonville, Florida, with his aunt. “Only to come back to an empty lot where our house used to be,” Creel said.
With more than 200 Katrina deaths lingering on Gulf Coast residents’ minds just as they do on Creel’s, residents now prepare more, just as they did for Tropical Storm Gordon.