JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – As hurricane season in the United States begins on Thursday, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) seeks to inform and prepare Mississippians over the next few months. 

Carrying out this mission is vital for MEMA Executive Director Stephen McCraney. 

“Forecasters are predicting a ‘below-average’ season, but in Mississippi, citizens know to be prepared,” McCraney said. “Protect your lives, family, and property by having a plan, a disaster kit ready to go, and those important documents stored in a safe place.”

According to a press release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the agency predicted a 30% chance of a below-normal hurricane season. But it also predicted a 30% chance for an above-normal season, and a 40% chance of a near-normal hurricane season. 

MEMA Public Information Officer Allie Jasper told WJTV 12 News that the forecasters McCraney cited were from NOAA and Colorado State University. 

Colorado State University predicted a near-average hurricane season. 

With 70% confidence, NOAA also anticipates 5-9 hurricanes, 1-4 major hurricanes, and 12-17 named storms. 

MEMA recommends that Mississippians keep at least 72 hours of food and water. They also recommend having the following items:

  • Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
  • Bottled water.
  • Canned and non-perishable food.
  • Copies of important family papers and documents.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Medicine and prescription medication.
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Pet food and pet supplies.
  • Toiletry items.

MEMA also asks that families make the following considerations when drafting their hurricane plan:

  • Do you have medical supplies that require electricity? If so, what’s your plan in case of a prolonged power outage?
  • Do you have medications that must stay cool? How will you keep them cool during a power outage?
  • If an evacuation order is put in place, where will you go?
  • If you have access and functional needs, how will you evacuate, and who is needed to help you?
  • Who outside of your immediate family knows your plan?

MEMA’s Disaster Guide demonstrates what to do before, during, and after a storm, including making an evacuation plan and building a disaster kit. MEMA’s Disaster Guide highlights how to make an evacuation plan, build a disaster kit, and what to do before, during, and after the storm. It is also Spanish and Vietnamese on the MEMA website

MEMA urges residents to contact their insurance provider to report any damage and file a claim. MEMA says that Mississippians can use its damage-reporting tool Crisis Track to help local officials determine the amount of damage within a community.