MEMA: "Prepare But Don't Panic"

By: Jon Kalahar Email
By: Jon Kalahar Email

It's not expected to be another Hurricane Katrina, but that doesn't mean Mississippians, and specifically coast residents, shouldn't prepare just the same.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency director Mike Womack says there are several paths it could take, all of which drop a large amount of rain on south Mississippi.

"Since we are on the right side of the storm as it tracks that way, we'll get quite a bit of wind and rain from this storm," said Womack. "We're obviously very concerned about it."

It's a storm that prompted an automated warning from the governor:
"This is Governor Haley Barbour. Don't be alarmed, but be aware a significant storm has crossed over Florida and is entering the Gulf of Mexico. This storm may develop into a tropical system, or even a hurricane. It could impact the coast and south Mississippi as early as Friday."

The warning is made at the governor's discretion. The warning was received by residents from the coast to Jackson, frightening some and leaving others wondering why they received it in the first place.

But Womack says he agrees with the timing of the governor's call. He says it's better to be early and prepare people for the storm than too late and have it surprise them in their homes.

"He doesn't like to surprise people the day they need to evacuate," Womack said. He wants to give them a lot of advanced notice."

Womack says those residents in surge and flood-prone areas need to think about evacuating and Mississippians in FEMA trailers should also leave.

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