Gulfport Fire Chief James V. Marenkovic uses his vehicle to emphasize the road closed sign in front of the Gulfport Casino during the late morning of Monday, June 6 as heavy rains from Tropical Storm Colin and a building high tide caused the salt water of Boca Ciega Bay to crash over the seawall flooding nearby streets. His advice to motorists who see water covering the streets is, “Turn around, don’t drown. This is what we face most of the time. This is storm surge. This is not the rain. This will take out your car and you’ll have a nice mechanic’s bill on your hands.”
he bay area was hit with its first major storm of the season Monday and Tuesday as Tropical Storm Colin barreled across the state. Locally, most damage was minimal with all area municipalities experiencing some level of localized flooding, sporadic power outages and downed trees. Gulfport’s Marina Director Denis Frain reported “seven boats aground within the city of Gulfport.” As of Tuesday evening, however, all of the boats had been removed, according to City Manager Jim O’Reilly.
Captain Erich Hertz, owner of Magic Moment, a 30-foot Catalina sloop sailboat anchored off Gulfport Beach near the city pier, looks at his boat in the distance and his dinghy, which is tied up at the dog park’s pavilion on the morning of Monday, June 6 during Tropical Storm Colin. “We came in earlier this morning on the dinghy,” Hertz said. But, then the waves became too much for the smaller craft so he had to bring it into shore. “We usually anchor our dinghy out and wade [into shore]. But, they have a four-hour limit at the dock so I’ve secured it at the pavilion and I have an anchor on it too. It’s not going to go anywhere. It might get banged up. Other than that, it should be pretty cool.”
On Monday, June 6, in the pouring rain of Tropical Storm Colin, Brian VanSlyke (yellow vest) of the Gulfport Parks Department assisted residents who needed up to 10 free sandbags, the limit per household. “Some people fill them to where they weigh 50 to 75 pounds or so,” said VanSlyke. “We’ve been very busy this morning.” Pictured from left, Jamie McCary, holding an orange sandbag, VanSlyke and Jennifer Latimer all of Gulfport. “I’m Protecting my tenants,” said McCary. “Gotta take care of them.”