By Karen Wilson
Severe weather can occur in any month in Mississippi and can include thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding. According to the National Weather Service, 42 Mississippians were killed and nearly 300 were injured during severe weather outbreaks in 2011.
“Severe weather can occur at any time, and being unprepared can jeopardize your safety or even your life,” Gov. Bryant said. “It is important to learn now what steps you can take to stay safe when severe weather is in your area. Some simple actions and a little planning can save your life.”
Every Mississippian should have a method for receiving severe weather warnings. This can include a weather radio, or one of several applications on mobile devices. A number of free mobile applications are available for download on smart phones which can alert you when a watch or warning is issued for your area.
“I urge everyone to take the time to talk with your family about your severe weather plan this week,” said MEMA Director Robert Latham. “Having a disaster plan in place in every home will save lives in Mississippi. We know that severe weather will affect our state again, and better education about our risks can lead to better preparedness.”
“The Mississippi Department of Education supports the efforts of the National Weather Service and MEMA to improve the severe and winter weather preparedness of Mississippi schools,” said Dr. Lynn House, Interim State Superintendent of Education. “We encourage and require all school districts to conduct fire and tornado drills on a regular basis. Also, we require schools to have an emergency and crisis response plan to deal with all type emergencies. We hope to continue to work with the Weather Service and MEMA and follow their recommendations as it relates to weather related issues.”
As part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week, the National Weather Service will conduct a statewide tornado drill, using the Emergency Alert System at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday. Schools, government agencies and businesses throughout the state are encouraged to participate.
“Mississippi is at or near the top of nearly all tornado statistics including total tornadoes, strong to violent tornadoes and long track tornadoes,” said NWS Meteorologist Steve Wilkinson. “Tornado statistics from the last 60 years also show that the frequency of tornadoes increases rapidly from the middle of Feb. all the way through April. We are quickly approaching the peak season, so we encourage residents to remain aware of weather forecasts so they can be prepared and stay safe.”
Local weather information and alerts are available through the NWS online at the following websites:
- Central Mississippi counties: www.srh.noaa.gov/jan.
- Coastal Mississippi counties: www.srh.noaa.gov/mob or www.srh.noaa.gov/lix.
- Northern Mississippi counties: www.srh.noaa.meg.
For detailed preparedness information, contact your county emergency management agency, or go to MEMA’s website at www.msema.org. The public is encouraged to follow MEMA on Twitter and Facebook for updates.