Statewide tornado drill set for Wednesday

Mississippi doesn’t get any guaranteed time off from tornadoes.
Twisters are possible in every month of the calendar, and November historically constitutes a second peak season for the often-deadly storms.
Wednesday at 9:15 a.m., the National Weather Service and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency will conduct a statewide tornado drill to remind residents how to respond in a weather emergency.
The routine weekly test on NOAA weather radio will simulate an actual tornado warning, and emergency managers, schools, businesses and residents statewide are encouraged to participate in the drill.
“Unfortunately, tornadoes are a constant threat for residents of our state,” said MEMA Director Mike Womack, who noted the deadly storms that swept across central and northern parts of the state in late April and early May.
“Because our entire state is vulnerable, it is absolutely essential that all citizens are aware of this risk.”
Mississippi has a long history of producing violent EF4 and EF5 tornadoes, and they can happen at any time of year and any time of day or night.
Even with better technology and advanced warning, these storms can take lives and destroy homes – especially if residents fail to take action. MEMA and National Weather Service officials recommend these responses 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.
“The National Weather Service is the agency which issues tornado warnings,” said Alan Gerard, meteorologist-in-charge of the weather service’s Jackson office.
“With the advances in technology we can give residents more time to react, but knowing what to do with that information is what saves lives.”
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.

ERROL CASTENS / Daily Journal Oxford Bureau