PEARL – The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency wants to remind residents to be prepared ahead of time for tropical storms and hurricanes that could form in the Gulf of Mexico and rapidly intensify during hurricane season.

“When a storm forms off the coast of Africa, we have several days to prepare for impact, but a storm that forms in the Gulf only gives us hours to prepare. That is why we are reminding everyone to prepare now,” said MEMA Director Robert Latham.

A tropical storm or hurricane that develops and intensifies rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico could affect the state in as little as 36 hours.

“As we saw with Tropical Storm Barry, storms can pop up quickly and make landfall within several hours,” added Latham. “It’s important to know your options and evacuation routes ahead of time, and to have an updated Disaster Supply Kit.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted 13 to 20 named storms this season, with seven to 11 of them becoming hurricanes. Three to six could potentially become major hurricanes.

While there is no current immediate threat, it is important to develop and maintain a Family Disaster Supply Kit with life sustaining items such as non-perishable food and water for at least three to five days, a first aid kit with prescription medications, a battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries, cash and traveler’s checks and specialty items such as baby formula and pet-care items. For more information on important items to include in your disaster supply kit go to,

For more information about emergency preparedness, visit

The public is encouraged to follow MEMA on Twitter and Facebook for updates.