TORNADO PREPAREDNESS WEEK DECLARED

PEARL – Gov. Phil Bryant has proclaimed the week of Oct. 28 to Nov. 1 as Tornado Preparedness Week in Mississippi.

Every year tornadoes pose one of the biggest threats to our state.  The months of November and March see the second highest average number of tornadoes annually in the state of Mississippi behind April.

Tornadoes spawn from powerful thunderstorms and can cause deaths and devastate neighborhoods in seconds, sometimes with little to no warning. Between 1950 and 2012, Mississippi was struck by 229 tornadoes in the month of November.

“We saw how effective preparedness can be during the Pine Belt tornadoes back in February as hundreds of homes were destroyed, but there was not one death,” said Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Robert Latham. “When our citizens know what to do, lives are saved and all we have to do is go in and help with rebuilding.”

The National Weather Service will conduct a statewide tornado drill at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30.  The NWS will use the Routine Weekly Test on NOAA weather radios to simulate an actual tornado warning.  All local emergency managers, schools, businesses and residents throughout the state are encouraged to participate in this drill.

A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach in excess of 200 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Mississippi averages 29 tornadoes and seven deaths per year since 1950, according to the weather service.

“Over the past 20 years, about 80 percent of tornadoes during the month of November have occurred at night, and more than half of the tornadoes in December and January have also occurred at night.  This presents a challenge to our residents to remain weather aware during the overnight hours,” said NWS Jackson Meteorologist in Charge Alan Gerard. “A NOAA Weather Radio is the best way to make sure that you receive a warning when asleep.”

For more information, contact MEMA External Affairs at 866-920-MEMA (6362), or visit us online at www.msema.org.  You may also visit the National Weather Service for more tornado preparedness information at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jan/?n=swad

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