Being Severe Weather Aware

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As we move into late fall, Mississippi's severe weather season reaches what we call a secondary peak. To call attention to this secondary peak, the National Weather Service declared Tuesday, Severe Weather Awareness Day for Mississippi.

Historically, November is a very active month for severe weather and tornadoes. Just last year, on Thanksgiving morning, three tornadoes passed through southern Mississippi, accompanied by numerous severe thunderstorms.

Since 1992, five large, violent tornadoes have occurred in Mississippi. Of those, four were in November.

The first step to being prepared is to know the difference between a watch and a warning.

A severe thunderstorm watch means conditions are right for severe thunderstorms to develop. A warning means they have developed and are producing winds of 58 mph or greater and hail at least three quarter of an inch in diameter or about the size of a dime. Severe thunderstorms are also capable of producing tornadoes.

A tornado watch means conditions are right for tornado development. A tornado warning means a tornado has been indicated on radar or seen by a trained spotter.

In the event of a tornado warning in your area, you should take cover immediately. In the event of a severe thunderstorm, you should seek shelter immediately and stay away from windows. For a tornado warning, seek shelter in an interior room on the lowest level of your home. Stay away from windows and cover your head with a pillow or blanket for added protection.