EMA directors discuss Saturday's storm

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Severe weather stormed through East Mississippi and West Alabama Saturday but luckily, the line of storms caused minimal damage for most residents in the Newscenter 11 viewing area.

“We dodged a big bullet,” said Lauderdale County Emergency Management Director Odie Barrett.

Barrett said although there were few reports of storm damage, his agency was prepared for the worst.

“We do call in our weather team, they come in and set up in our weather room and we watch the storm as it comes through and see where it’s building and where the biggest strength is going to come through,” said Barrett.

Most damage in Lauderdale County came from fallen trees and power lines.

“…But as far as homes, we were really in good shape there,” said Barrett.

Clarke county EMA Director Eddie Ivy told Newscenter 11 the agency started warning residents in his area days ahead of the storm.

“I know a lot of people say ‘Well we’re getting tired of hearing that,’ if I don’t tell you and I don’t warn you, then I have done a poor job of emergency management,” said Ivy.

Ivy said some Clarke County residents have experienced storm damage to their property at least 3 times in the last few months and advises others to take every warning seriously because the next storm could hit much harder.

“It’s not a matter of if it’s going to occur, it’s a matter of when,” said Ivy. “History and statistics are showing us we are now one of the most active tornado areas in the nation.”

Fortunately, no injuries were reported in Clarke or Lauderdale counties.