Severe Weather Awareness

With hurricane season around the corner, officials said it's vital that responders understand severe weather.

"As we approach hurricane season we still have severe weather from not only the hurricane itself, but as hurricanes make landfall, they can also cause tornadoes and do damage," said David Sharp, director of Lauderdale Emergency Management Agency.

Employees of EMEPA joined LEMA volunteers for storm spotter training.

"We will be doing a storm spotters class for a lot of the lineman and the people with EMEPA that work out in the field," said Sharp.

Newscenter 11 meteorologist Brian Hutton, Jr., says the importance of being aware of severe weather conditions is becoming even more important.

"By attending a storm spotter class you learn the difference between a tornado and a funnel cloud, a wall cloud, and what to look for so when you do call in that report it's accurate," said Hutton.

Officials say it is important for you to stay aware of severe weather situations, not only for your safety but for the safety of those around you.

Local officials also participated in a statewide hurricane drill Wednesday, simulating a Katrina-like disaster striking the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The test primarily tests coastal counties, but local officials wanted to be involved this year, because of the impact hurricanes often have for people and emergency workers here.

"When the coast is evacuated here because of hurricanes, our population here in Lauderdale County doubles, or maybe triples, because of all of the evacuees that's coming through here," said Sharp. "And it does tax us, and our office. "

The drill simulated how officials might communicate by amateur radio if all other lines of communication were down because of the storm.

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