CLINTON, Miss. -- Mississippi this year has experienced the two extremes of disaster warning:
Tornadoes touched down with little or no warning while Mississippi River flooding came with a lot of warning.
Now is the time to get ready for the next weather threat. Already there is plenty of warning that an above average chance of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes is forecast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's Climate Prediction Center.
"Usually NOAA gives us about three days warning that a hurricane is possible," said Mike Womack, director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
"That's enough time to evacuate if you've got a plan and your emergency supplies and equipment are at hand. But you need to be prepared before there is a hurricane warning."
There are three fundamental steps to be prepared:
- Get your Emergency Kit ready
- Make a Family Emergency Plan
- Stay informed
An Emergency Kit includes items such as non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio, extra flashlights and batteries. You may want to keep some items in your car in case you are told to evacuate with short notice.
A Family Emergency Plan includes how you will contact one another if you have to evacuate separately, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
"Being prepared also means staying informed," said Terry L. Quarles, FEMA's federal coordinating officer in Mississippi. "And that's a responsibility of each member of a family. Hurricane preparation may not be able to save property," he said, "but it definitely will save lives."
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.