With hurricane season less than a week away, the Coast is beginning to prepare for what’s to come. Local officials are meeting this week to discuss action plans, and how to prepare its citizens. Here in south Mississippi we are familiar with the devastation a tropical storm or hurricane can bring. That is why it is crucial to be prepared and have a plan for whatever Mother Nature decides to throw our way.
Greg Flynn, a spokesperson for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (M.E.M.A.), says, "You know that’s the thing, if you have a plan in place ahead of time, psychologically, you're ahead of the game when all of a sudden a storm warning comes up. You know it’s time to run the plan." This year, the National Weather Service is predicting a mild hurricane season, which begins this Sunday, June 1st. Rob Knight, a meteorologist for WXXV 25, says, "The national hurricane center has predicted 8 to 13 storms affecting the U.S. This year, out of the 8 to 13 storms, three to six of them could become hurricanes, and out of that, one to two of those could become super hurricanes." That doesn't mean you can let your guard down. Predictions are not set in stone.
Flynn also says, "Follow your plan. Don't get lazy, and take them all seriously." Flynn says the coastal emergency teams are ready, but it’s up to you to be prepared for the worst. You need to stock up now and have supplies that can last your family through 72 hours. Flynn also says, "We can't respond during the event and people need to remember that. You can't call 911 and expect someone to run out and come save you if you decide to stay behind." Deputy Chief Nate Wilson of the Ocean Springs Fire Department says, "We'll go out during the storm for any kind of call, but there will become a time when the winds get so high that we do need to shut down operations. That’s why we ask people to evacuate in low lying areas."
According to officials, the most important thing is to create a communication plan between family members. When you know family members are safe during disasters, you’re more likely to make smart decisions and stay safe yourself. Evacuation plans have improved in our area. Highway 49, and within the last year, Highway 67 have been completed. Both are designated as evacuation routes.