In last briefing before Isaac hits, officials stress one thing - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

In last briefing before Isaac hits, officials stress one thing

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

Rainfall expectations have already been downgraded. Monday the National Weather Center was calling for a 12 to 16 inches, Monday that's been lowered to between six to eight inches, and local officials say they don't expect local rivers and lakes to reach flood level.

However, at the final briefing before the storm Mayor Johnny Dupree said Hattiesburg is still under a state of emergency and officials emphasized caution.

"The little saying they have with the weather service - turn around don't drowned - is very applicable in this case," said Forrest County Emergency Management Director Terry Steed.

With the storm looming outside and evacuation traffic barreling north, Streed stressed one main thing.

"[Tuesday night] particularly and [Wednesday], in heavy rain periods, when you get into these 40 to 50 mile-an-hour winds, which we will probably get later tonight, please, unless you absolutely have to, do not get on the road," said Steed.

Around lunch time Tuesday the Pine Belt went under what was Mississippi's first tornado warning linked to Hurricane Isaac.

"These are generally not long-track tornadoes. Like for instance the one up in north Mississippi a year ago. They're F-0, F-1, but you know they could still be 80 to 100 mile-an-hour winds and do significant damage," said Steed.

"I think you have tornado activity and you have flooding," said Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree of his two main concerns going into tonight. "It's the aftermath really that's probably more dangerous than actually when the storm actually comes through."

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