Hurricane Awareness Week

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There were five hurricanes that made landfall in the 2004 season. Four of those struck Florida within six weeks of each other.

And then, who could forget Ivan as it caused widespread power outages and damage to homes as trees toppled from the high winds?

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is promoting Hurricane Awareness Week to help Mississippians recognize the dangers of tropical systems.

The main concerns for inland communities are high winds and flooding from a slow moving storm.

"The biggest fear of weather forecasters, especially those along the Gulf Coast, is that a major hurricane will move onshore slowly," said John Baxter of the National Weather Service.

Being prepared for a hurricane is similar to being prepared for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. You should have a safety kit that includes enough food and water for each person for up to three days, and you should also have a flashlight, along with plenty of extra batteries, and try to keep an extra pair of dry clothes handy.

When Ivan moved through Mississippi and Alabama, many were without power for several weeks. A lot of people chose to use a generator to power lights, refrigerators and fans to keep cool. This poses a new threat of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Remember to run a gas-powered generator in a well-ventilated area that is outside your home. Other threats of carbon monoxide poisoning include gas or charcoal grills. Keep them outside.

"It's like running a lawnmower or a car inside your house. Don't do it. The generator should be outside. If it's in your garage, the garage door should be open," said Baxter.

A slow moving hurricane or tropical storm can produce more than 30 inches of rain in a 24 hour period.

Even though we do not live on the coast, it is a good idea to have flood insurance. Most homeowner policies do not include flooding. It must be purchase separately.