JACKSON, Miss.--The capital city is now "Storm Ready" according to the National Weather Service and MEMA. The Weather Service bestows the honor on communities that have strong ways to warn people of impending bad weather and also demonstrate a good working relationship between city officials and emergency management personnel.
Mayor Harvey Johnson and other city officials accepted a sign from Meteorologist in charge of the Jackson NWS Office Alan Gerrard.
"I've been the meteorologist in charge here for 10 years now and it's certainly one of my most exciting days to be able to help recognize the largest city in the state and the capital city as storm ready," he said.
The sign has thus far been presented to 24 counties, 15 communities and four universities in the state, according to a news release from MEMA. That release lists the qualifications:
To be recognized as StormReady, a community must:
- Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center.
- Have multiple ways to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts and to alert the public.
- Create a system that monitors weather conditions locally.
- Promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars.
- Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.
"We've done a number of things to get "Storm Ready". There was mentioned the "Code Red" warning system that we have where we can actually phone and/or text individuals. We also have a mobile ap that can be accessed through that system. We invite people to join. It takes some initiative on the part of the residents to do that," he said.
NWS Warning Coordinator Steve Wilkinson says the "Storm Ready" designation is important for any Mississippi community to achieve.
"We have a lot of tornadoes and a lot of bad weather in Mississippi," he said. "Anyone who's lived here knows that. It can happen to you, so let's be prepared. That's what "Storm Ready" is all about is us working together. Let's hope we never need this, but when or if something happens, we're prepared."
Wilkinson says the next tornado season is in November.