Leaders are advising Mobile County residents to stay home ahead of the landfall from Hurricane Sally projected to the east.
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said the city was under its highest threat level from the storm, during a joint press conference alongside County Commission President Merceria Ludgood and County Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director Mike Evans.
“That means we’re taking this very seriously,” Stimpson said.
All city services, aside from public safety operations, will be shut down under the emergency status beggin at 8 a.m. on Tuesday until midnight Wednesday.
“We are urging citizens to please start taking precautions,” Stimpson said. “We’re asking residents to stay home.”
As weather conditions are expected to continue deteriorating starting overnight, Stimpson said those wishing to evacuate should not hesitate.
“Don’t wait until the last minute to leave,” he added.
There will be no garbage pickup on Tuesday or Wednesday. Those whose normal garbage pickup is Tuesday will have a make-up day on Saturday, Sept. 19. Those whose normal pickup day is Wednesday will have a make-up day on Monday, Sept. 21, according to Stimpson.
The county will close its offices beginning at 3 p.m. today, Ludgood said. A decision will be made Tuesday as to whether the office will reopen on Wednesday, she said.
Evans told reporters in the multi-purpose room at Government Plaza that the storm comes with a lot of “uncertainty” because its projections have started to move east and it is expected to slow before making landfall. Those shifts mean Sally could possibly make landfall in eastern Mississippi and have greater impacts on the Mobile area than were initially expected.
“Uncertainty means now is the time to get prepared while there’s still time,” he said. “The storm surge numbers have increased up to 7 feet with the eastward shift and up to 18 inches of rain is expected. People living in an area where there’s flooding need to be aware.”
The county has opened to shelters, but with COVID-19 protocols in place, Evans asked residents to only use the shelters if they have nowhere else to go. There is a general use shelter open at Theodore High School and a special needs shelter open at Burns Middle School.
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