Whether the Weather

Too often, in the case of severe weather, people ignore any advance warnings or choose to ride out the storm at home, placing themselves and their loved ones at risk. In Mississippi, where tornadoes are always a risk, the National Weather Service (NWS) and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) are working together to help prepare people for extreme weather events, to provide advance notification, and to ensure that advance notification is taken seriously.

Steve Wilkinson, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service, notes in The Clarion-Ledger, “Don’t fall into the trap of, ‘Never hit me, never will.’ Tornadoes can hit anywhere in Mississippi. If you hear that storms are possible, have a reliable way of getting info. Know what you’re going to do if you’re in your car. If you live in a mobile home, go visit a friend or a family member until the storm passes.”

External affairs director for MEMA Greg Flynn, in attempting to keep the public aware of any natural disasters, observes “there are two basic things we try to instil in people. Know how to get emergency alerts, and have a plan to take action. Never rely on any one method to get alerts, like tornado sirens. Have access to a weather radio, phone alerts, social media, traditional media like local television and radio broadcasts, or simply phone calls to and from friends and family.”

NWS science and operations officer Chad Entremont opines “I think people pay more attention than they used to. There are more sources to see the damage, and if you’ve been impacted recently or know someone who has, you’ll pay more attention.”

While preparedness has improved, Wilkerson notes “human nature is still the same — to not pay attention to what might not affect you — but I think people are paying more attention overall. Know the source of who you’re getting info from and make sure it’s reliable.”