By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker urged Mississippi residents to prepare for severe weather as part of a national campaign called “Be a Force of Nature.”
The senators, who issued joint statements Tuesday, mentioned the one-year anniversaries of the deadly Smithville tornado and Mississippi River flood to illustrate the importance of disaster readiness.
“Last year, our state witnessed the devastation that storms and flooding can bring to communities,” Wicker said. “We know that better preparedness can save lives, even when dangerous weather events occur with little warning. This is a good week for Mississippians to develop their own preparedness plans.”
Launched as part of the first-ever National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, which ends Saturday, the campaign is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Each agency has posted information, tips and a toolkit on their websites to help people prepare for weather-related disasters.
Among the tips are:
* Understand your risks of being involved in severe weather.
* Devise an emergency plan to follow if disaster strikes.
* Pack a disaster-survival kit and have it ready to go.
* Get a NOAA weather radio, which issues round-the-clock updates.
* Spread the word to others.
“Most Mississippians are aware of the dangers posed by severe weather in our state, but a refresher course on how to protect ourselves and our loved ones from tornadoes, floods and the like can be useful,” Cochran said. “I think we can use the anniversary of last year’s Smithville tornadoes and the historic Mississippi River flooding to pledge to take action to be better prepared.”
On April 27 last year, an EF5 tornado struck Smithville, destroying the small Monroe County town and killing 16 people. Tornadoes also caused major damage in Wren in Monroe County and areas of Chickasaw County.
A week later, the Mississippi River began flooding the western part of the state, forcing the evacuation of cities and the closure of businesses and casinos.
For more information about the “Be a Force of Nature” campaign and serve weather preparedness: