Governor Barbour Issues Statewide Storm Warning

JACKSON-- Gov. Haley Barbour used the state's new mass notification system today to alert coastal residents to prepare for Tropical Storm Fay. The state launched the Connect-GOV system last month so the governor can communicate important messages about disasters and emergencies to residents who could potentially be affected.

This afternoon residents in George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River and Stone counties will receive the following phone message from the governor:

"This is Governor Haley Barbour and I want to urge you to keep a close eye on Tropical Storm Fay. There is no reason to panic. But now is the time for you and your family to make preparations. Be sure you have disaster supplies such as flashlights, batteries, water and non-perishable food items, and a weather radio. And, just in case, you need an evacuation plan so you'll know where to go and how you would get there if an evacuation is ordered in your area. We don't expect that, but you need to be prepared to protect yourself and your family. Please stay tuned to local media stations for the latest storm predictions.  For more information go to MEMA's Web site at"

The notification system allows officials to record, send and track personalized voice messages to thousands of residents, businesses, and local agencies in just minutes, through a single phone call. The state can also send text messages to cell phones, PDAs, e-mail accounts, and TTY/TDD receiving devices for the hearing impaired.

Messages can be targeted to an unlimited number of groups - everything from mobilizing emergency response teams to coordinating efforts with necessary agencies or volunteers. Messages can also be targeted to specific geographical locations, sending notifications only to the residents within select counties, cities, or even neighborhoods when needed.