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Storm Readiness at County Level Saves Lives

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 30 Nov 2010 09:47am | comments

With rough weather on the prowl, Magee has become the newest community to receive StormReady Status. MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports how it could help save thousands of lives.

The city of Magee is in Simpson County, and according to Steve Wilkinson, warning coordinator with the National Weather Service in Jackson. Simpson County is one of the most tornado prone counties in the United States.

"In fact out of over 3, 000 counties in the United States it's the 2nd most violent tornado prone county. That's pretty significant if you think about it. So Magee being the largest population center within Simpson County is the most prone area to those violent tornados impacting people."

Just last year Magee was the epicenter of an F3 tornado that injured at least 20 people. Yesterday Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Womack along with the National Weather Service designated Magee as StormReady. The designation requirements included establishing a 24 hour emergency operations system, and multiple ways to alert the public, including sirens, and a telephone call system . It’s something Womack would like to see every county in the state accomplish... sooner - rather than later.

"And they need to do it before a storm comes in. No one knows when the tornado or severe thunderstorms or hurricane winds, no one knows when its gonna hit their community. We are very lucky that the weather service now have started giving us 12, 24 hours sometimes longer than that and so when we get the warnings we just need to take the precautions."

Longtime Magee resident, Reverend Richard Kyte sees the new warning sirens as real 'life savers'.

"Wonderful, been needing it for years and years and years. Some of em hadn't worked before, they needed brand new ones we got em, Praise the Lord."

Mississippi now has 29 StormReady designations around the state. Lawayne Childrey MPB News.

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