State tornado drills set for today

By NEMS Daily Journal

A statewide tornado drill will take place today as part of Tornado Awareness Week in Mississippi.
The National Weather Service will conduct the statewide tornado drill at 9:15 a.m. today, using the Routine Weekly Test on NOAA weather radios to simulate an actual tornado warning. All local emergency managers, schools, businesses and residents throughout the state are encouraged to participate in this drill.
“Last spring 37 people were killed during tornado outbreaks in our state, but our goal each year is not to have any fatalities,” said Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Womack.
Every year twisters pose one of the biggest threats to the state, as exhibited with last spring’s numerous tornado-related deaths and widespread damage.
While tornadoes are stereotypically a spring phenomenon, Mississippi typically sees a second surge of the storms in November. Between 1950 and 2010, Mississippi was struck by 226 November tornadoes – more than 82 percent as many as in April.
The National Weather Service and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency recommend the following steps in case of tornadic weather:
* Monitor a NOAA weather radio for the latest information. These radios can be purchased at most major retailers.
* In case of a tornado warning, take cover. Avoid windows and go to the lowest floor if possible. Cover yourself with blankets or a mattress to protect from falling debris.
* If not at home, go to an enclosed windowless area, crouch down and cover your head.
* If in a car, get out and seek shelter. If no shelter is available, lie flat, face down on low ground and protect the back of your head with your arms.
* Do not panic.
For more information, contact MEMA External Affairs at (866) 920-MEMA (6362), or visit www.msema.org and www.srh.noaa.gov.