BILOXI, Miss. -- Like the old adage, March came in like a lion. Just a few days into the month, the Gulf Coast has already experienced severe weather. Local, state and federal emergency management partners encourage all Mississippians to be prepared.
Here are few tornado safety tips from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):
- Pick a place where family members can gather. It could be a basement or, if there is no basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor.
- Be alert for changing weather conditions. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm.
- Listen to a NOAA weather radio broadcast or local television news.
- If a tornado warning is issued, seek shelter immediately. Families in travel trailers or mobile homes should get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter.
- Know "tornado talk." Tornado watch: tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Tornado warning: a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Remember, don't wait until a tornado warning to prepare; it might be too late.
Mississippi recovery efforts to date:
Individual support continues with more than $1.16 billion to individuals and families:
- 216,483 individuals and families have been approved for Housing Assistance totaling more than $849 million;
- 134,202 Mississippi survivors have been approved for more than $319 million in Other Needs Assistance;
- As of Mar. 2, 2007, there were 27,837 temporary housing units (travel trailers and mobile homes) in service. Nearly 16,000 units have been returned to FEMA.
In communities across the state, approximately $1.18 billion has been approved in the following Public Assistance (PA) categories:
- $353 million for emergency protective measures;
- $425 million to repair public buildings;
- $303 million to restore public utilities;
- $61 million to restore public recreational facilities such as state parks;
- $38 million to repair roads and bridges;
- $1.9 million to repair water control devices such as reservoirs and irrigation channels.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency administers the funds. To date, MEMA has disbursed more than $1 billion to PA applicants for rebuilding projects including bridges, public buildings and utilities.
More than $683 million obligated for land-based debris removal.
- More than 45 million cubic yards of eligible land-based debris has been removed from public and private property throughout the state. Approximately 30 million cubic yards of debris have been removed in the lower three counties.
- Removal of land-based construction and demolition debris in the inundated areas of the three coastal counties has been extended to June 30. Standing dead trees are eligible for removal from all parts of Harrison, Hancock and Jackson counties through June 30. Property owners must complete a right-of-entry form available at their local building department by the deadline set by their local jurisdiction.
An inter-agency campaign, directed by FEMA, has been working to clean up Mississippi's coastal and inland waterways.
- The U.S. Coast Guard has cleared more than 63,000 cubic yards of marine debris from the water since marine cleanup began last September and six of 16 marine debris removal contracts are complete.
- Approximately 224,785 cubic yards remains in the inland waterways and another estimated 247,208 cubic yards remain to be removed offshore. Marine debris removal will be 100 percent fed...