PEARL – Gov. Phil Bryant declares Oct. 23-27 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 779 tornadoes in the months of November through February since 1950, according to the National Weather Service. Tornadoes cause an average of eight deaths and 107 injuries per year in Mississippi.
On Jan. 20, 2017 tornadoes killed four Mississippians and injured 60 others. The first was an EF-3 that struck Lamar, Forrest and Perry counties damaging more than 1,000 homes. Damage was also reported in Franklin, Jones, Lauderdale, Pike and Wilkinson counties.
“The Fall and Winter months are beautiful here in Mississippi, but can also be dangerous with wild swings in the weather,” said Gov. Bryant. “I encourage all Mississippians to be prepared and have a plan, especially around the holidays when we welcome so many friends and family to our great state.”
The National Weather Service will issue a statewide test tornado warning on NOAA weather radios at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25. Schools, government agencies and businesses throughout the state are encouraged to participate in the tornado drill.
“We stress three things for people to remember for a severe weather plan,” said MEMA Director Lee Smithson. “Get out of mobile homes, don’t travel and know 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. The outline is as follows:
- Monday, Oct. 23: Alerts and Warnings. There are numerous ways to receive weather alerts from your cellphones to weather radios to mass notification systems.
- Tuesday, Oct 24: Severe Thunderstorms. Lightning, large hail and damaging winds from severe storms are just as dangerous as tornadoes.
- Wednesday, Oct. 25: Tornado Safety. A statewide tornado drill will be conducted at 9:15 a.m.
- Thursday, Oct. 26: Flooding and Flash Flooding. Flooding is the number one cause of weather-related deaths behind heat. Remember… Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
- Thursday, Oct. 27: 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.weather.gov/jan.
- Coastal Mississippi counties: www.weather.gov/mob or www.weather.gov/lix.
- Northern Mississippi counties: www.weather.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. You can download MEMA’s free preparedness mobile app on your phone or tablet by searching “Mississippi EMA”.
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.