By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – For the estimated 13,900 Lee County households without Internet access, subscribing to the new weather alert system means relying on someone who does.
That someone, according to the Lee County Board of Supervisors, should be churches and civic groups – if not friends, family and neighbors.
On Friday, the county will partner with Three Rivers Planning and Development District to teach individuals and entities with Internet access how to help residents sign up for weather alerts.
The informational meeting starts at 9 a.m. at the Magnolia Center, located at the Lee County Agri-Center in Verona.
Officials will talk about the program, called CodeRED Weather Alert System, and provide step-by-step instructions about how to register people online. All churches and civic clubs in the county are urged to attend, said county Administrator Sean Thompson.
In Nettleton, Mayor R. V. Adams said residents can also come to City Hall where city employees will register them.
Lee County, in partnership with Three Rivers, contracted with CodeRED for $16,726 per year. Tax dollars fund the system, which otherwise is free to all county residents, including those within municipalities.
CodeRED uses National Weather Service radar to track dangerous storms and floods and project their likely paths. Residents in those areas receive recorded phone messages telling them to take the necessary precautions. But they must register for the service first.
To sign up, go online to www.co.lee.ms.us or www.trpdd.com/codered and enter a home and cellphone number, address and which weather alerts to get: tornado, severe thunderstorm or flash flood.
But according to the U.S. Census Bureau, just 56.6 percent of homes in Mississippi have Internet access. That means nearly half of the 32,086 households in Lee County must get outside help to register.