Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (M.E.M.A.) Director, Robert Latham, finished his hurricane preparedness tour of the Coast Wednesday.
Governor Phil Bryant declared this week Hurricane Preparedness Week and Latham has been discussing the many elements of preparedness with agencies all over the Coast. One focus this week has been business preparedness. Latham says 35% to 40% of businesses never re-open after being hit with a disaster, but he says getting businesses up running after a storm is critical to a city's recovery. One tool to help residents and businesses is a storm surge watch put out by the Hurricane Center with each hurricane watch.
Latham says, “For so long, there was no separation between the potential for storm surge and the category of the hurricane, and the category of the hurricane is based on wind speed. It has nothing to do with the water, or the storm surge. So now you're going to see as part of the forecast, what the potential storm surge is with that hurricane.”
Predictions for this year are forecasting a less-severe season, but M.E.M.A. says it only takes one storm to cause major devastation. They advise residents to start making hurricane plans now if they have not done so already.