Evacuees need to consider the projected path of the hurricane when choosing an evacuation route and destination. Evacuation studies estimate that it takes between 18 and 36 hours to evacute the Louisiana coastal bend in advance of tropical storm force winds. This underscores the need for coastal residents to have an evacuation plan. When evacuating, be sure to check local weather and highway conditions before departing. When local authorities order an evacuation in your area, leave immediately!
Hurricane evacuation in Mississippi works differently than in Louisiana based upon many factors. These factors are based upon the strength and estimated path of a landfalling hurricane.
With the cooperation of both governors of Louisiana and Mississippi, evacuation orders and contraflow in both states are entacted to specific guidelines.
For Mississippi residents evacuating from an imminent storm threat, all roads inside the state will remain in normal travel directions, with the exceptions of Interstates 55 and 59 when a contraflow order is issued by the Governor of Mississippi upon the request by the Governor of Louisiana.
During a Louisiana contraflow where I-55 and I-59 are used for evacuation, Mississippi enacts a two-option evacuation plan:
Option A (also known as "Miss. Level 4 Evacuation"): Contraflow only occurs inside the Louisiana borders. Contraflow traffic on I-55 and I-59 in Louisiana will revert back from all lanes heading north (northbound lanes plus southbound lanes used in contraflow heading north) to normal traffic flow prior to motorists crossing the Louisiana/Mississippi state line. I-55 and I-59 traffic heading southbound from Mississippi into Louisiana will be closed at the state line.
- Option B (also known as "Miss. Level 5 Evacuation"): Contraflow will be ordered by the Governor of Mississippi heading northward past the Louisiana state line into Mississippi. Contraflow will be extended to Mile Marker 31 (near McComb) on I-55 and to Mile Marker 59 (near Hattiesburg) on I-59. All Mississippi motorists driving north to south on the interstates will be directed to U.S. and Mississippi state highways prior to those Mile Marker points. Louisiana residents evacuating north on the interstates in Mississippi will have access to the U.S. and state highways along "Service and Non-Service" exits along the interstate contraflow.
MISSISSIPPI HURRICANE EVACUATION MAP
(click image below to enlarge and print)