February MS Severe Weather Awareness Month - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

February MS Severe Weather Awareness Month

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According to emergency management records, Mississippi is near the top of the list of states in danger of damaging tornadoes.

That's one of the reasons Gov. Phil Bryant is calling the month of February Severe Weather Awareness in the Magnolia State.

Many cities in north Mississippi were busy testing their sirens Wednesday, making sure they work in the event of severe weather.

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Also the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is asking schools to conduct tornado drills.

Olive Branch Mayor Sam Rikard, who is also a meteorologist, is suggesting you make sure you have several ways to get your weather warnings.

"Well in February, we may have a deep snow or an 80 degree day and tornadoes," he said. "February is a good month to just look and make sure you have a plan, and make sure number one you know how you are going to be alerted."


You should not rely on just the sirens, Mayor Rikard added.
"They are effective if you are outside," he said. "They are not so effective if you are in a well-insulated house and it's raining and you have the TVs on."

Mr. Rikard suggests investing in a weather radio.

"The weather radio is good, older technology that has benefited us for years," he said. "I look forward to the day any even with these weather radios that they use the National Weather Service polygons, it think it would make them even more effective and people would pay more attention to them."
If you live in Olive Branch, the city uses a system called CodeRED. You can sign up for it for free and personalize it to your address.

"You can be alerted on your home phone, your cellphone, you can receive e-mails or text messages, your choice," Mayor Rikard said. "The beauty of that system is, if you are not concerned with a winter storm warning, you don't want to be awakened in the middle of the night. But if you only want to be alerted because of a tornado warning you can choose that way."
The mayor and meteorologist says he is a big fan of getting weather warnings from multiple sources.
"I think in everything you need a backup, you know if you are at home, you may use the TV and get some great information there," he said. "If you are in the backyard, you may get it from the siren, or you may get a warning on your phone, so it is a value to use multiple sources, because all systems can fail."

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