PEARL – The months of March, April and May have historically brought the greatest threat of severe weather to Mississippi. Therefore, Gov. Phil Bryant has declared Feb. 19-23, 2018 as Spring Severe Weather Preparedness Week.
Last year 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 Gov. 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. The outline is as follows:
- 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.
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 both on Twitter.