(The following is a press release from the Mississippi Department of Transportation)
JACKSON, MISS. – The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) joins the National Weather Service, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and local emergency managers in observing Mississippi Spring Severe Weather Preparedness Week February 19-23.
The purpose of this week is to spread awareness of the potential for severe weather in Mississippi as well as provide information on ways that Mississippians can protect themselves in the event of severe weather. Each day of the week will be designated to focusing on a particular type of severe weather, such as tornadoes, lightning, damaging winds, hail, and flash floods.
• Monday, February 19 will focus on severe thunderstorms. Large hail and damaging winds from severe thunderstorms are common occurrences in the South. It is important to take measures to protect yourself and your family during severe thunderstorms.
• Tuesday, February 20 will be dedicated to the dangers of flash flooding. Many fatalities are caused by driving in a flash flood because it is difficult to tell how deep the water is. If you come across a road with high water, turn around, don’t drown!
• Wednesday, February 21 will be devoted to tornado safety. It is important for people to know tips regarding tornado safety in order to be able to respond to an emergency appropriately. A statewide tornado drill will be conducted at 9:15 am. Schools, businesses and other agencies are encouraged to participate to review tornado safety tips. Thursday will be the alternate drill day if adverse weather is expected on Wednesday.
• Thursday, February 22 will focus on the dangers of lightning. Lightning is often called “the underrated killer” and can strike as far as 10 miles away from a storm. When thunder roars, go indoors!
• Friday, February 23 will be dedicated to ways you can receive weather warnings. It is important for Mississippians to be able to receive severe weather alerts in multiple forms. MDOT encourages people to utilize the resources provided such as MDOTTraffic.com and alerts that other organizations offer.
Mississippi has the potential for severe weather year round. However, the main season for severe weather is in March, April and May.
MDOT’s offers tips if you encounter severe weather while on the road:
• Never drive through a flooded area; the water may carry your vehicle or even cause it to stall.
• Do not use cruise control when the roads are wet. The distance it takes to stop increases in these conditions.
• If driving and you encounter hail, find shelter for your car.
• If you are in your vehicle during a tornado, seek sturdy shelter or the lowest part of the ground such as a ditch. Never seek shelter under highway overpasses.
• Use your headlights whenever conditions require the use of windshield wipers.
MDOT advises Mississippians to prepare in advance, stay informed, and know what actions to take to keep you and your family safe before, during and after severe weather occurs.