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Severe weather preparedness week begins in Mississippi

Courtesy of Telesouth Communications Inc

The months of March, April and May have historically brought the greatest threat of severe weather to Mississippi. Therefore, Governor Phil Bryant has declared Feb. 19-23, 2018 as Spring Severe Weather Preparedness Week.

2017 went down as the fourth most active year for tornadoes in our state since 1950, according to the National Weather Service. A total of 69 tornadoes caused five deaths and approximately 60 injuries occurred across the state.  So far this year, three tornadoes have impacted Mississippi. Tornadoes cause an average of eight deaths and 107 injuries per year in our state.

“As we transition into the spring season, we must be aware of the potentially dangerous swings in our weather patterns here,” said Governor Phil Bryant. “I encourage all Mississippians to be prepared and have a plan, as severe weather can strike quickly.”

The National Weather Service will issue a statewide test tornado warning on NOAA weather radios at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 21st. Schools, government agencies, and businesses throughout the state are encouraged to participate in the tornado drill.

“I cannot stress enough the importance of getting out mobile homes and limiting travel during severe weather,” said MEMA Director Lee Smithson. “Now is the time to talk to your family about your plan and where your safe place is.”

Federal, state and local governments have invested millions of dollars in more than 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.

  • Monday, Feb. 19: Severe Thunderstorms and Watches/Warnings. Lightning, large hail and damaging winds from severe storms are just as dangerous as tornadoes.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 20: Flash Flooding.  Flooding is the number one cause of weather-related deaths behind heat. Remember… Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 21: Tornado Safety and Preparedness. A statewide tornado drill including a NOAA Weather Radio test will be conducted at 9:15 a.m.
  • Thursday, Feb. 22: Lightning. All thunderstorms are accompanied by lightning, which can be deadly. Remember… When The Thunder Roars, Go Indoors.
  • Friday, Feb. 23: Receiving Severe Weather Information. There are numerous ways to receive weather alerts from your cellphones to weather radios to mass notification systems.

Entergy Mississippi is also taking part in severe weather preparedness week and says they want their customers to stay safe and know how to contact them in the event of a power outage or downed power lines due to severe weather.

 “We monitor the weather 24/7, and when severe weather threatens, we mobilize our crews for outage restoration,” said Robbin Jeter, Entergy Mississippi vice president of customer service. “Everyone should have their own plan in place before severe weather threatens that accounts for all family members, including pets.”

Jeter encouraged their customers to make a plan on what the family should do in the event of severe weather, assemble a safety or survival kit with the essentials for the family and also encouraged install a smartphone app that will give updates on severe weather and emergency alerts.

 “Despite our best efforts to reduce the likelihood of outages during bad weather, storms can be powerful and unpredictable,” Jeter. “Be prepared and have everything you need in one central location if you lose power, including a way to notify us of the outage. This will help you be more comfortable and will also instill order and safety while our crews restore service.”

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