WLOX Station Manager Dave Vincent reports that the damage done to the Mississippi gulf coast by Hurricane Katrina is catastrophic.
Most major bridges are out or damaged in the area. The Biloxi to Ocean Springs bridge is damaged. The Bay St. Louis bridge on Highway 90 is gone. The beach highway along the coast is closed and impassable at this time.
The downtown area of Bay St. Louis is reported to be destroyed.
Thousands of homes are either damaged or destroyed all along the coast.
Officials at WLOX know of at least 38 persons either killed or missing in the Biloxi and Gulfport area.
They suggest the best method of trying to contact friends and family is by HAM radio as there is no power, no landline phone service or cell phone service. There is a HAM radio operator stationed at WLOX; call sign is WX5AAA. Click here for the National Association for Amatuer Radio.
There is no portable water in the area, but they are expecting some relief to come today.
Due to the continuance of tropical storm force winds and darkness through the nighttime hours, search and rescue operations are just now beginning to assess the situation fully.
The entire area is under a 24 curfew.
Veterans of Hurricane Camille, which hit the area in 1969, are calling Hurricane Katrina much worse.
We can only report information that is relayed through our sister televsion stations, WAVE in Louisville, KY ,WIS in Columbia, SC ,KLTV, TX among others. No direct information can be posted from WLOX. Requests for specific information on individuals and locations can't be answered directly. We'll keep you updated .
We literally have hundreds of emails pouring into us asking for news of specific areas and specific family and friends. While this is tough task considering the current communication out of the Biloxi/Gulfport area, we hope to provide better information tomorrow. We have additional news crews and satellite phones in route to WLOX. They are due to arrive some time later tonight