Staying safe during severe weather - - The News for South Mississippi

Staying safe during severe weather

(Photo source: WLOX News) (Photo source: WLOX News)

As people across the country gathered to celebrate Christmas, some families in Mississippi, Texas and surrounding states weren't so lucky. 

More than 20 people in the south have died within the last three days due to severe weather; including a 7 year old in North Mississippi

While WLOX News can't control Mother Nature, we can do our best to keep you prepared for potential severe weather this week. That's why in addition to South Mississippi's best meteorology team, we've developed a free tool to help you stay safe during inclement weather. 

Available to download on your Apple or Android devices, the WLOX Weather app has daily and hourly updates on weather in your area. If severe weather alerts are issued, a mobile alert will warn you about potential severe weather. 

In the event you lose power at home, you can also use the app to watch live news broadcasts; right in the palm of your hand. 

Here's a list from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency of things you should keep on hand for your family in the event severe weather:

  • Flashlight(s) with extra batteries
  • Portable radio with extra batteries
  • NOAA Weather Radio
  • Non-perishable food for at least 3 days
  • Bottled water (1 gallon per person per day)
  • First Aid Kit with prescription medications
  • Bedding and clothing for each family member
  • Blankets and towels
  • Plastic dishes/eating utensils
  • Rain Jackets/pants
  • Sun screen/sunglasses/mosquito repellent
  • Baby supplies (food, diapers, medication)
  • Pet supplies (food, leash & carrier, vaccination records)
  • Sanitary supplies
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, cleanser, bleach, towelettes, toilet paper, trash bags, feminine hygiene products
  • Copies of important documents
  • Driver’s license, SS card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, medical records, family pictures, etc
  • Cash, enough to fill up your vehicle with gas and travelers checks
  • Emergency generator
  • Bicycle helmet

Although the threat of tornadoes in South Mississippi is low, MEMA has also provided a list of ways to prepare:

What to do if you are in your home during a tornado:

  • Go to the lowest level of the home, an inner hallway, or smaller inner room without windows, such as a closet or bathroom
  • Get away from windows and go to the center of the room. Avoid corners, because they tend to attract debris
  • Get under a sturdy piece of furniture, such as a workbench or heavy table

If you are in a mobile home:

  • Evacuate the mobile home, even if it is equipped with tie-downs
  • Take shelter in a building with a strong foundation, or if one is not available, lie in a ditch or low-lying area a safe distance away from the mobile home. Tornadoes cannot change elevation quickly enough to pick someone up out of a ditch, especially a deep ditch or culvert.

If you are at work or school:

  • Go to the basement or to an inside hallway at the lowest level of the building
  • Avoid places with wide-span roofs, such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways or shopping malls
  • Use your arms to protect your head and neck

If outdoors:

  • If possible, get inside a sturdy building with a concrete foundation.
  • If shelter is not available, or there is no time to get indoors, lie in a ditch or low-lying area or crouch near a strong building.
  • Be aware of the potential for flooding.

If you are in a vehicle:

  • Never try to out drive a tornado in your vehicle. Tornadoes can change direction very quickly and can lift a vehicle and toss it in the air
  • Get out of the vehicle and take shelter in a nearby building
  • If there is no time to get indoors, get out of the vehicle and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle

Click here for more information from the Mississippi State Department of Health on making a Family Disaster Plan, and click here for a fun coloring exercise to share with your children. 

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