PEARL – The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is monitoring the threat of a severe weather system forecast to move through the state Thursday afternoon and evening.

The National Weather Service says damaging wind gusts, quarter sized hail and tornadoes could threaten the entire state. Recent NWS statistics show central Mississippi ranks first in the nation in tornado warnings over the last nine years, which indicates that Dixie Alley is more active than the areas referred to as Tornado Alley.

“As we transition from winter to spring, we are asking citizens to be weather aware during one of our two peak seasons for severe weather,” said MEMA Executive Director Robert Latham. “Only when citizens take it upon themselves to be prepared, will we reduce or eliminate weather related deaths. It all starts with getting the alert and knowing what your plan is.”

MEMA and the NWS recommend taking the following steps:

  • Every home should have a NOAA weather radio, or some other means of receiving severe weather alerts in their home. The weather radio sounds an audible alert when a warning is issued for the immediate area, and can be purchased at many local retailers for less than $40.
  • Have a family emergency plan and family communication plan. Every member of your family should know where to go, and how to communicate with each other if there is storm damage in your area.
  • Check on at-risk neighbors to ensure they are prepared for severe weather.
  • Check and restock your emergency supply kit, in the case that your home is without power for an extended period of time.
  • Residents in mobile homes or manufactured housing should consider going to a more substantial structure to wait out the storm.
  • If riding in a vehicle, never attempt to outrun a tornado. You should abandon the vehicle and get into a sturdy structure.

In addition to a NOAA weather radio, everyone should monitor their local media for forecast information and updates.

For detailed preparedness information, contact your county emergency management agency, go to MEMA’s website at or download the MEMA mobile app on your iOS or Android device. The best way to get up-to-date information is to “Like” MEMA on Facebook, or “Follow” us on twitter.