With the approach of the spring severe weather season, the National Weather Service (NWS), Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and other supporting organizations are encouraging all residents to take the time out this week to review their severe weather preparedness plans.
The week of Feb. 4-8 is designated as Severe Weather Preparedness Week in the state.
NWS said the purpose of this week is to provide people with the knowledge necessary to protect their lives when severe weather threatens.
"Whether in the form of severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, or flash floods, severe weather can develop very quickly. Once a tornado approaches, or flooding develops, it is too late to start working on a preparedness plan. When severe weather develops, and warnings are issued, we must take immediate action to protect ourselves. Preparing for severe weather is the theme of this program," the NWS said.
Tornadoes will be reviewed on Wednesday and there will also be a statewide tornado drill at 9:15 a.m. for schools and businesses to practice preparedness.
NWS said for a severe weather preparedness plan to be successful, it must include the following knowledge of terminology such as watches and warnings, a thorough knowledge of safety rules to follow when severe weather strikes, a reliable method of receiving emergency information, the designation of an appropriate shelter and drills to test the plan.
The period from March through early May is the primary severe weather season in Mississippi and is typically the most active for severe storms including tornadoes each year.
April is historically the peak month for tornadoes and is known as the month for the most violent and deadliest tornadoes in the state.
Last spring's severe weather season was fairly calm with only 12 tornadoes hitting the state. All occurred in March with none recorded in April or May. It was the first time Mississippi went without a tornado in the month of April in several years.
This was after a tornado season in 2011 that saw a record of more than 60 tornadoes tear across the state in the month of April alone, killing dozens and injuring many others.