Mississippi knows severe weather all-too-well.
Last August, Hurricane Isaac battered the Gulf Coast then traveled north and brought strong wind and heavy rain to much of the state.
With the severe weather threat high this summer, is Mississippi ready?
"I think Mississippi is as prepared as any state could possibly be," says MEMA's Executive Director, Robert Latham.
MEMA officials cannot stress enough the importance of educating yourself ahead of a tropical storm or hurricane.
"Concentrate more on the water hazards from a tropical system like heavy rains and surges than the category of the storm," says Latham. "Leave early when the voluntary evacuations are issued. Don't wait till the mandatory evacuations are ordered, because the evacuation is more difficult. You're more likely to get stranded on the highway, and then you wind up in a public shelter."
Another way to prepare ahead of time is to visit your local hardware store to stock up on the essentials.
"A lot of people will wait till the last minute," says Chuck Ellis, who manages the Sutherlands in Pearl. "Then there's a rush on everything, so they buy us out of all the flashlights and batteries."
Gas cans are another must. And remember, if the storm really packs a punch, power could be out for a week or more.
"It's not a bad thing to have a generator all the time," says Ellis. "You never know when you're going to lose power, but during hurricane season, if you lose it for a week or so, you lose all the food in your freezer and refrigerator."
According to Latham, another great thing to do is scan all your important documents--birth certificate, marriage license, insurance documents--and keep them with you on a flash drive. A storm could destroy the originals, but if you've got a digital copy, you've got nothing to worry about.
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