With the bulk of Idalia north of Gulfport, people have emerged from their homes to assess the damage — and the flooding. However, Gulfport officials have a earnest request for everyone: Stay out of the water. Don’t walk in it, don’t drive in it, and don’t swim in it.
The long-duration storm surge, expected to get more severe at the almost-three-foot high tide at 12:21 p.m. today (Aug. 30) has flooded the lower end of downtown Gulfport and the Marina District neighborhood. The shelter at Veterans Park has partially collapsed, and at least two sailboats in Boca Ciega Bay have either dragged anchor or broke loose. These boats found their way to the Gulfport Casino — you can see the masts in the photo at the top of this article.
Why are Floodwaters Unsafe in Gulfport (And Elsewhere)?
Those floodwaters, Gulfport officials say, likely contain hazards that make them unsafe for humans and their pets. Those hazards can include fecal coliform and e. coli (from any boats that sustained damage to their blackwater tanks during the storm); fuel (from any boats that swamped or sustained damage); downed electrical lines (“Water conducts electricity well, and contact with flood waters can lead to electrocution,” Yale University’s Climate Connections department says); and floating debris with sharp edges (The Gabber Newspaper saw parts of boats in Veterans Park this morning).
Read all The Gabber Newspaper’s Idalia updates.