Thursday, October 20, 2016

Gov. Bryant Declares Fall Severe Weather Preparedness Week

Gov. Phil Bryant declares Oct. 24-28 as Fall Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Mississippi.

Mississippi is making the transition into fall, opening the severe weather season. The state has been hit by 772 tornadoes in the months of November, December, January and February since 1950, according to the National Weather Service.

On Dec. 23, 2015, tornadoes killed 11 Mississippians and injured 56 others. The first was an EF-3 that was on the ground for 63 miles going through Bolivar, Coahoma, Quitman and Panola counties. That tornado lifted briefly before setting back down as an EF-4 for 75 miles hitting Tate, Marshall, Benton and Tippah counties. It eventually crossed into Tennessee.

“Severe weather deaths, injuries and damage are devastating whenever they occur, but more so around the holidays when we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with friends and family,” said Gov. Bryant. “I encourage all Mississippians to be prepared and have a plan.”

The National Weather Service will issue a statewide test tornado warning on NOAA weather radios at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26. Schools, government agencies and businesses throughout the state are encouraged to participate in the tornado drill.

“There are three things for people to remember when severe weather threatens,” said MEMA Director Lee Smithson “Get off the roads, get out of mobile homes and get to a safe place.”

The federal, state and local governments have invested millions of dollars in nearly 100 safe rooms across Mississippi that are intended to protect citizens from severe weather. The buildings are constructed to withstand 200 mph winds. Check with your county emergency manager to find out the closest one in your area or where a local shelter will be available.

MEMA and the NWS will focus on specific types of severe weather each day of the week on social media and websites. The outline is as follows:

Monday, Oct. 24: Alerts and Warnings. There are numerous ways to receive weather alerts from your cellphones to weather radios to mass notification systems.
Tuesday, Oct 25: Severe Thunderstorms. Lightning, large hail and damaging winds from severe storms are just as dangerous as tornadoes.
Wednesday, Oct. 26: Tornado Safety. A statewide tornado drill will be conducted at 9:15 a.m.
Thursday, Oct. 27: Flooding and Flash Flooding. Flooding is the number one cause of weather-related deaths behind heat. Remember… Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
Thursday, Oct. 28: Winter Weather. Surprisingly, these winter events can affect the Magnolia State before winter officially begins in late December.

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.gov/meg.

There are several ways to receive severe weather warnings, like a NOAA 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.

For detailed preparedness information, contact your county emergency management agency, or go to MEMA’s website at www.msema.org. The best way to get up-to-date information is to “Like” MEMA and the National Weather Service on Facebook, or “Follow” us on Twitter.