NWS GRAPHIC
NWS GRAPHIC

Severe weather predicted today: Agencies monitor afternoon and evening threat

Published 11:06am Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and National Weather Service in Jackson are monitoring the threat of a severe weather system forecast to move through the state Thursday afternoon and evening.

A wind advisory had already been issued for Lincoln County and other counties in the region from 9 a.m. Thursday until 9 p.m.

The National Weather Service says an elevated risk for severe storms will exist from late this afternoon and this evening in a large portion of the state as a line of thunderstorms move across the region. The storms will be possible as moist unstable air combines with increasing wind shear as a strong upper disturbance and cold front move through the region.

Temperatures are expected to drop by around 40 degrees from today’s projected highs in the 80s to tonight’s lows in the mid-40s after the front has passed.

Damaging winds in excess of 60 mph and quarter-sized hail are the primary risk, the NWS said, adding that a few tornadoes cannot be ruled out as well. Forecasters look for the line of storms to move quickly and cross the area in six to nine hours and be out of the forecast area by 1-2 a.m.

Recent NWS statistics show central Mississippi ranks first in the nation in tornado warnings over the last nine years, which indicates that Dixie Alley is more active than the areas referred to as Tornado Alley.

Lincoln County’s weather forecast for today called for a 30 percent chance of showers in the afternoon with highs in the lower 80s. South winds of 10 to 15 mph were expected to increase to around 20 mph with gusts to nearly 35 mph in the afternoon.

Tonight’s forecast calls for showers and thunderstorms, some severe. Lows will drop into the mid 40s. West winds of 10 to 15 mph will shift to north after

midnight. The chance of rain is nearly 100 percent.

Friday is expected to be sunny and cooler with highs in the mid 60s.

“As we transition from winter to spring, we are asking citizens to be weather aware during one of our two peak seasons for severe weather,” said MEMA Executive Director Robert Latham.

“Only when citizens take it upon themselves to be prepared, will we reduce or eliminate weather related deaths. It all starts with getting the alert and knowing what your plan is.”

MEMA and the NWS recommend taking the following steps:

Every home should have a NOAA weather radio, or some other means of receiving severe weather alerts in their home. The weather radio sounds an audible alert when a warning is issued for the immediate area, and can be purchased at many local retailers for less than $40.

Have a family emergency plan and family communication plan. Every member of your family should know where to go, and how to communicate with each other if there is storm damage in your area.

Check on at-risk neighbors to ensure they are prepared for severe weather.

Check and restock your emergency supply kit, in the case that your home is without power for an extended period of time.

Residents in mobile homes or manufactured housing should consider going to a more substantial structure to wait out the storm.

If riding in a vehicle, never attempt to outrun a tornado. You should abandon the vehicle and get into a sturdy structure.

In addition to a NOAA weather radio, everyone should monitor their local media for forecast information and updates.

For detailed preparedness information, go to MEMA’s website at www.msema.org or download the MEMA mobile app on your iOS or Android smart phone or tablet. The best way to get up-to-date information is to “Like” MEMA on Facebook, or “Follow” them on twitter.