PEARL – The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is asking residents to prepare for the possibility of severe storms Sunday into Sunday evening.
Forecasts from the National Weather Service say the primary threat from the storm will be damaging wind gusts, but heavy rainfall and a few tornadoes are possible. Rainfall totals could reach three to five inches in some areas. Most of the severe weather will be associated with a squall line, but severe storms could develop ahead of the line.
“For at least the last three years we have had tornadoes around the Christmas holidays, and just last year five Mississippians died as a result of severe weather and tornadoes in Marion and Jones counties,” said MEMA Executive Director Robert Latham. “While there is a slight risk for isolated tornadoes, the greatest risk will be damaging winds gusts and heavy rainfall. Having a plan in place could save your life.”
Many people could be out holiday shopping and out of their normal routine, so it is important to know how you will get an alert of severe weather in your area. There are many ways you can be alerted to severe weather warnings:
- NOAA Weather Radio: An essential tool that should be in every home or business.
- Wireless Emergency Alert Messages: Make sure these notifications are turned “on” in your phone settings.
- Smartphone Applications.
- Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
- Local radio and TV stations.
- Community tornado sirens.
MEMA and the NWS both recommend you take the following steps:
- Know your family emergency plan in case a weather warning is issued.
- Check and restock your emergency supply kit in case you are without electricity for an extended period of time.
The State Emergency Operations Center will monitor the storms as they pass through the state, and release any updates as they become available.
According to the NWS, from 1950 to 2014, Mississippi saw 153 tornadoes in the month of December. This makes December the sixth most active month for tornadoes behind April (365), March (232), November (231), May (204) and February (189).
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 on Facebook or “Follow” us on Twitter.