RESIDENTS URGED TO BE WEATHER AWARE

PEARL – The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service are urging residents to monitor the potential for severe weather this evening and early tomorrow morning.

The NWS says Mississippi can expect strong winds, severe thunderstorms and the possibility of strong tornadoes to develop ahead of an approaching cold front.

“This is a strong storm system that is already producing severe weather to our northwest this afternoon,” said NWS Meteorologist Alan Gerard. “It will be coming through Mississippi overnight, and severe weather and tornadoes at night are particularly dangerous, because they are difficult to see and many people may be in bed.  It is important for people to be aware of the potential of severe weather tonight, and be sure they have a way to monitor weather conditions.”

The Storm Prediction Center has placed the northwestern portion of the state under a moderate risk for severe weather.  However, it is important to remember that much of the state could still see severe storms and tornadoes as the system moves through.

“I don’t want anyone to go to bed tonight, without a method for receiving severe weather warnings,” said MEMA Director Robert Latham. “The last thing that I want to discuss in the media is the loss of life or injuries because someone didn’t receive the warning.”

If a tornado warning is issued for your area, here are some tips to keep you safe:

If you are in your home:

  • Go to the lowest level of the home, an inner hallway, or smaller interior room without windows, such as a closet or bathroom.
  • Get away from windows, and go to the center of the room.
  • Get under a sturdy piece of furniture, such as a workbench or a heavy table.

If you are in a mobile home:

  • Evacuate the mobile home, even if it is equipped with tie-downs.
  • Take shelter in a building with a strong foundation, or if one is not available, lie in a ditch or low-lying area that is a safe distance away from the mobile home.
  • Tornadoes do not change elevation quickly enough to pick someone up out of a ditch, especially a deep ditch or culvert.

If you are in a vehicle:

  • Never try to out drive a tornado. Tornadoes can lift a car and toss it in the air.
  • If there is no time to get indoors, get out of the vehicle and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle.

Many weather related deaths and injuries occur after people have gone to bed. The best way to receive after hours severe weather notifications is with a NOAA weather radio with a battery backup. The weather radio sounds an audible alert when a warning is issued for an area, and may be purchased at many local retailers for about $30.

In addition to a NOAA weather radio, residents should monitor their local media for any forecast updates.

MEMA and the NWS recommend you take the following steps:

  • Have a family emergency plan.
  • Check and restock your emergency supply kit in case you are without electricity for an extended period of time.

For more information about emergency supply kits, go to www.msema.org.

The public is encouraged to follow MEMA and the NWS on Twitter and Facebook for updates. For the latest forecast in your area, go to www.srh.noaa.gov.

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