Severe weather can strike any season

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Monday’s storms again reminded us that severe weather can strike in any season.

Strong storms, including an EF1 tornado, hit the area, downing power lines and trees and destroying barns, sheds and damaging homes.

It was this time last year that tornadoes caused damage in Lincoln and Copiah counties.

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Winter tornadoes are not uncommon in the South, but we don’t typically think of winter as being tornado season. We should. And we should always be prepared for severe weather.

Below are tornado safety tips from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. Following them can save lives, maybe your own.

What to do if you are in your home during a tornado:

Go to the lowest level of the home, an inner hallway, or smaller inner room without windows, such as a closet or bathroom.

Get away from windows and go to the center of the room. Avoid corners, because they tend to attract debris.

Get under a sturdy piece of furniture, such as a workbench or heavy table.

If you are in a mobile home:

Evacuate the mobile home, even if it is equipped with tie-downs. Take shelter in a building with a strong foundation, or if one is not available, lie in a ditch or low-lying area a safe distance away from the mobile home. Tornadoes cannot change elevation quickly enough to pick someone up out of a ditch, especially a deep ditch or culvert.

If you are at work or school:

Go to the basement or to an inside hallway at the lowest level of the building.

Avoid places with wide-span roofs, such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways or shopping malls.

Use your arms to protect your head and neck.

If outdoors:

If possible, get inside a sturdy building with a concrete foundation.

If shelter is not available, or there is no time to get indoors, lie in a ditch or low-lying area or crouch near a strong building.

Be aware of the potential for flooding.

If you are in a vehicle:

Never try to out drive a tornado in your vehicle. Tornadoes can change direction very quickly and can lift a vehicle and toss it in the air.

Get out of the vehicle and take shelter in a nearby building.

If there is no time to get indoors, get out of the vehicle and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle.