Severe thunderstorm safety

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Fall Severe Weather Preparedness Week continues and Tuesday’s topic was severe thunderstorms.

Severe thunderstorms can occur any time of the year here in Mississippi. It is always important to be prepared and have a plan of action when severe weather strikes.

"The types of plans that people need to make are 'where would you go if for instance a tornado warning is issued?' you know, certainly if you live in a mobile home you would want to have an alternative place to go. But even, you know, if you just live in a regular house you need to know which room you want to go to. If you're in a vehicle, you know, you'll want to know where to go." says Daniel Lamb, a forecaster at the National Weather Service's office in Jackson.

For a thunderstorm to be classified as severe, it must fall under one of these categories: 1 inch or greater sized hail, winds greater than 58 mph, and/or tornadoes. Like tornadoes, hail and straight-line winds can cause significant damage.

"We really encourage people to take severe thunderstorm warnings seriously, because you can have tornado-like damage without a tornado with these straight-line wind events.” Lamb says.

The National Weather Service is responsible for issuing watches and warnings for severe weather – there is a difference between them.

“A watch means that the atmosphere is favorable for severe weather to develop and you need to be thinking about what type of plan you want to put in place in case it actually does develop. When a warning is issued that means that it’s imminent, it’s about to happen, and that’s when you want to actually put your severe weather plan into place.” Lamb explains.

Wednesday’s topic is tornado safety, and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is urging everyone to participate in a tornado safety drill at 9:15 am.