TORNADO PREPAREDNESS WEEK: WEATHER RADIO, WEA ENABLED DEVICES

PEARL – The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is asking residents to prepare for the potential for severe weather forecast to move through the state on Thursday.

The National Weather Service says that Mississippi can expect strong winds, two to four inches of rain in the Delta and North Mississippi, one to three inches of rain in Central and Southern Mississippi with locally higher amounts and the possibility of severe thunderstorms and a chance of tornadoes. The NWS has already placed most of central Mississippi under a Flash Flood watch.

“The National Weather Service could not have timed the scheduling of Tornado Preparedness Week better, as we have the potential to see some isolated tornadoes tomorrow,” said MEMA Director Robert Latham. “I urge communities to be weather aware as Halloween festivities take place tomorrow evening. Parents need to be cautious and monitor local weather to determine the timing to keep your family out of harm’s way.”

Today is the third day of Tornado Preparedness Week, and MEMA and the NWS want to highlight the importance of a weather radio and Wireless Emergency Alert-enabled phones to receive weather alerts.

It is important to have a way to receive severe weather warnings after you have gone to bed. Most weather-related injuries and deaths occur at night when people are asleep. A NOAA weather radio, Alert FM receiver or smartphone app which sounds an audible alert, will wake you when a warning is issued for your area so you can take the appropriate action.

The Wireless Emergency Alert system allows emergency text messages to be sent by MEMA, county emergency managers and the National Weather Service to every enabled smartphone phone in an area without its user having to download an app or subscribe to a service.

As an example, if a tornado warning is issued for Lamar County, every enabled cell phone in the county would emit a special tone and receive a short text message warning of the threat. Phones will only receive the message one time. No matter where you travel in the country, if you have an enabled phone you will receive a text alert for the local area you are in.

There are numerous methods to receive tornado watches and warnings. Examples include:

  • NOAA Weather Radio: Watches and Warnings issued by NWS air on these radios.
  • Wireless Emergency Alerts: Sends a text message with a special tone to enabled wireless devices.
  • Television Stations: Local or national news stations monitor and broadcast weather alerts.
  • AM/FM Radio: Radio stations are required to air Emergency Alert System messages.
  • Smartphone Applications: Numerous to choose from, and user can specify areas for alerts.
  • Text Message Alerts: Some television stations use text message alerts for specific areas.
  • Alert FM Receiver: Similar to a NOAA Weather Radio, but relays the message from FM Stations.

Gov. Phil Bryant proclaimed the week of Oct. 28-Nov. 1 as Tornado Preparedness Week in Mississippi.

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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