PEARL – The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is monitoring the threat of strong early winter storm system forecast to move through the state on Christmas day.
According to the National Weather Service, some isolated storms could develop as early as tonight, but the best threat for severe weather will be Christmas day into the evening hours. The Christmas day system could bring damaging 70-80 mph straight-line winds, heavy rainfall, dangerous lightening, hail and strong tornadoes.
“We understand that most people will be focusing on the holiday,” said Gov. Phil Bryant. “Please plan now for how you will receive a severe weather warning, and know where you will go when it is issued. It only takes a few minutes, and it will help everyone have a safe Christmas.”
Due to this being the holiday season residents should also be reminded that with the forecast of 70-80 mph winds and tornadoes that Christmas decorations and other outdoor items could become dangerous projectiles. Everyone is encouraged to secure these outdoor items to in an effort to reduce any potential damage.
MEMA recommends that every home have a NOAA weather radio or some means of receiving severe weather warnings in their home. The weather radio sounds an audible alert when a warning is issued for the immediate area, and may be purchased at many local retailers for less than $40. When a warning is issued, individuals and families should execute their severe weather plan and seek shelter immediately.
MEMA and the NWS recommend taking the following steps:
- Have a family emergency plan in case a weather warning is issued for your area.
- Check and restock your emergency supply kit in case you are without electricity for an extended period of time.
- Residents in mobile homes or manufactured housing should consider going to a safer place to wait out the severe weather.
- When riding in a vehicle, never attempt to outrun a tornado. You should abandon the vehicle and get into a nearby ditch or sturdy structure.
“Many of our residents are either traveling, or have family and friends coming to visit them during the Christmas holiday who may not be aware of our potential for severe weather,” said MEMA Director Robert Latham. “Check the weather before hitting the road, and know what weather you could be heading towards or what weather could develop. It is also best to stay tuned to local radio while on the road. This will ensure you get severe weather warnings for the area in which you are traveling.”
In addition to a NOAA weather radio, residents should monitor their local media as well as the NWS at www.srh.noaa.gov for forecast information and updates.
For more details on family and personal preparedness, please visit MEMA’s website at www.msema.org
The public is encouraged to follow MEMA on Twitter and Facebook for updates.