Weather events show warning system need

Published 6:00 pm Sunday, April 24, 2011

Recent events – both locally and elsewhere in the state – againillustrate the importance of citizens being weather alert andprepared in the event of a major storm.

Weather warning systems, be they sirens for coverage of wide areasor weather radios for personal or business use, reduce thepossibility of injuries or even death in the event of a tornado orsevere storm.

Unfortunately, with no working weather sirens currently in place,Brookhaven and Lincoln County citizens remain exposed to dangers ofunexpected weather events. Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameroncommented on that fact earlier this week while discussing lastweekend’s tornadoes that struck Clinton and other parts of thestate.

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“With all the weather we had last week, I don’t know what wouldhave happened had all that weather come through Brookhaven,”Cameron said in urging his fellow city officials to rememberweather sirens at budget time.

An earlier attempt to get weather warning devices for the city wasunsuccessful after Hurricane Katrina-related response funds ranout. And mitigation grants that could provide weather warningequipment for Lincoln County – where a small tornado struck Ruthearlier this month – have been inaccessible since it is not amember of the National Flood Insurance Program.

Supervisors this week took another step toward joining the NFIPwhen they approved an ordinance that is required for membership.The ordinance, which was modified to remove some zoning-relatedrules, will need Mississippi Emergency Management Agency approvalbefore Lincoln County can join the NFIP.

In the absence of a weather warning system implemented bygovernment agencies, residents would be well-served to look intoacquiring a weather radio for their homes. Civil Defense DirectorClifford Galey said the devices have come down in price and gone upin reliability in recent years.

When bad weather strikes, the protection of lives and property isparamount.

The first step to success in that goal is early warning. Localleaders would do well to look into obtaining the abilities toprovide that needed warning – before it is too late.