Per the signed proclamation by Governor Bryant, today marks the beginning of Fall Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Mississippi.
2019 has been one of the most active for tornadoes in state history. Mississippi experienced a record number of tornadoes this spring, and for the year, the state has been affected by 86 total tornadoes, which is 186 percent higher than the yearly average. Since 1950, Mississippians have experienced 2,200 tornadoes spawned from severe weather, over 800 of which occurred during the months of November through February. Tornadoes also cause an average of eight deaths and 107 injuries per year in Mississippi.
“I encourage all Mississippians to not only have a plan but practice that plan on a regular basis”, said Governor Phil Bryant. “We all know that this time of year can bring various forms of severe weather, and it is important to be prepared for these events that may occur.”
On February 23, 2019, over 40 counties were affected by severe storms and tornadoes, causing damage to over 700 residences, nearly 500 roads and bridges, and 90 businesses. 19 injuries were also reported. Considering this information, as well as the fact that hurricane season is nearing its end, MEMA is urging Mississippians to not let their guard down when it comes to severe weather.
“The first step of severe weather preparedness begins in your home”, said MEMA’s Executive Director Greg Michel. “Have those discussions now about topics such as your safe place, emergency supply kits, and family contacts. We at MEMA will continue to work with our local, state and federal partners to keep you safe before and after severe weather strikes”.
The National Weather Service will issue a statewide tornado warning test on NOAA weather radios at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday, October 23rd. Schools, government agencies, and businesses throughout the state are encouraged to participate in the tornado drill.
“There is really no seasonal break from severe weather in the State of Mississippi”, said National Weather Service Meteorologist-In-Charge Bill Parker. “Mississippians must remain aware of the threat of severe storms, especially in the fall and winter season. For Mississippi, Fall is often the springboard that launches severe storms into the Winter and Spring seasons. This is why Fall Severe Weather Preparedness Week is one of the most important partner preparedness and outreach campaigns to our citizens for the NWS and MEMA.”
Federal, state, and local governments have invested millions of dollars in more than 100 safe rooms across Mississippi with the intent of protecting 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 National Weather Service 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. 21: Alerts and Warnings. There are numerous ways to receive weather alerts from your cellphones to weather radios to mass notification systems.
- Tuesday, Oct 22: Severe Thunderstorms. Lightning, large hail and damaging winds from severe storms are just as dangerous as tornadoes.
- Wednesday, Oct. 23: Tornado Safety. A statewide tornado drill will be conducted at 9:15 a.m.
- Thursday, Oct. 24: Flooding and Flash Flooding. Flooding is the number one cause of weather-related deaths behind heat. Remember… Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
- Friday, Oct. 25: 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 multiple ways to receive severe weather warnings. You can use a NOAA weather radio or download one of the several applications for mobile devices. These applications 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.