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Copiah and state observe Severe Weather Awareness Week


PEARL – Gov. Phil Bryant declares Feb. 4-8 Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Mississippi.
Severe weather can occur in any month in Mississippi and can include thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding. According to the National Weather Service, 42 Mississippians were killed and nearly 300 were injured during severe weather outbreaks in 2011.
“Severe weather can occur at any time, and being unprepared can jeopardize your safety or even your life,” Gov. Bryant said. “It is important to learn now what steps you can take to stay safe when severe weather is in your area. Some simple actions and a little planning can save your life.”
Every Mississippian should have a method for receiving severe weather warnings. This can include a weather radio, or one of several applications on mobile devices. A number of free mobile applications are available for download on smart phones which can alert you when a watch or warning is issued for your area.
“I urge everyone to take the time to talk with your family about your severe weather plan this week,” said MEMA Director Robert Latham. “Having a disaster plan in place in every home will save lives in Mississippi. We know that severe weather will affect our state again, and better education about our risks can lead to better preparedness.”
“The Mississippi Department of Education supports the efforts of the National Weather Service and MEMA to improve the severe and winter weather preparedness of Mississippi schools,” said Dr. Lynn House, Interim State Superintendent of Education. “We encourage and require all school districts to conduct fire and tornado drills on a regular basis.  Also, we require schools to have an emergency and crisis response plan to deal with all type emergencies.  We hope to continue to work with the Weather Service and MEMA and follow their recommendations as it relates to weather related issues.”

As part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week, the National Weather Service will conduct a statewide tornado drill, using the Emergency Alert System at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday. Schools, government agencies and businesses throughout the state are encouraged to participate.
“Mississippi is at or near the top of nearly all tornado statistics including total tornadoes, strong to violent tornadoes and long track tornadoes,” said NWS Meteorologist Steve Wilkinson. “Tornado statistics from the last 60 years also show that the frequency of tornadoes increases rapidly from the middle of Feb. all the way through April.  We are quickly approaching the peak season, so we encourage residents to remain aware of weather forecasts so they can be prepared and stay safe.”
Copiah County is not excluded from severe weather by any means, having suffered through tropical storms with high winds and heavy rainfall, straight line winds from approaching cold fronts and the brief tornadoes that are sometimes spawned from any severe weather system, in the past few years.  Just recently, heavy rainfall in the region has caused the Pearl River and many inland creeks and streams to spill over their banks in mostly rural areas.
“I urge all Copiah residents to obtain a NOAA Weather Radio so that severe weather warnings will be received promptly and accurately.  We will be happy to program the radio at no charge, also,” said Copiah County Emergency Management Director Randle Drane.
He explained that new technology has allowed for improved issuance of storm warnings.  And, weather sirens in the county are controlled individually to pinpoint severe weather warning areas.
“The areas that do have the weather sirens in the county will not be activated unless we are under a severe weather warning with 80MPH winds or greater, or if we are under a tornado warning.  A warning means a tornado has been spotted on the ground, or weather radar returns a rotation in a storm cell and a tornado is imminent for the warning area,” Drane said.
A plethora of resource material is available to all citizens, even locally.  Visit the Copiah County Emergency Services page on Facebook and request to be added.  Or, send email to Randle DRane ( to be placed on the severe weather alert list, which are only generated when NWS predicts severe weather is heading to our area.
Other local weather information and alerts are available through the NWS online at the following websites:
    Central Mississippi counties:
    Coastal Mississippi counties: or
    Northern Mississippi counties: www.srh.noaa.meg.
For detailed preparedness information, contact your county emergency management agency, or go to MEMA’s website at The public is encouraged to follow MEMA on Twitter and Facebook for updates.
Be Prepared
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency’s goal is for every Mississippian to be prepared for any type of disaster, whether natural or man-made. Every family should have a fully-stocked disaster supply kit, and also have a home evacuation plan. If disaster strikes in your area, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you contact to let everyone know that you and your family are safe?
By following these simple steps, every family will be more prepared for every disaster from hurricanes, to earthquakes to winter weather.
Fully-stock a disaster supply kit. These are essential items needed to live following a disaster.
    Flashlight(s) with extra batteries.
    Portable radio with extra batteries.
    NOAA Weather Radio.
    Non-perishable food for at least 3 days.
    Bottled water (1 gallon per person per day).
    First Aid Kit with prescription medications.
    Bedding and clothing for each family member.
    Blankets and towels.
    Plastic dishes/eating utensils.
    Rain Jackets/pants.
    Sun screen/sunglasses/mosquito repellant.
    Baby supplies (food, diapers, medication).
    Pet supplies (food, leash & carrier, vaccination records).
    Sanitary supplies.
    Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, cleanser, bleach, towelettes, toilet paper, trash bags, feminine hygiene products.
    Copies of important documents.
    Driver’s license, SS card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, medical records, family pictures, etc.
    Cash, enough to fill up your vehicle with gas and travelers checks.
    Emergency generator.
    Bicycle helmet.
Develop a home evacuation plan. If a disaster happens near your home, know where you and your family would go, what you and your family would do and how you and your family would do it. If your home is damaged, know where everyone would go. Every family member should know the plan and how to execute the plan. Also, have a contact person outside of the area of your home to contact to let know everyone is safe.
Practice. Set time aside to practice the plan with everyone in the home. Everyone should know what to do and where to go in the event of an emergency. It can also be helpful to plan for disasters with your neighbors, family and friends. Sharing your emergency plan with neighbors, family and friends can help everyone know your specific plan and assist with recovery from the disaster.

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