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Hurricanes: Proper prep is a really wise step

With Tropical Storm Nate gaining strength, Mississippians should prepare for a hurricane. Nate was expected to make landfall somewhere between the Louisiana and Alabama coasts Sunday, potentially putting the Magnolia State at ground zero.

Lee Smithson, director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, said coastal residents should start making storm preparations. He says county emergency management directors will decide later whether to recommend evacuations.

Smithson said people should not be complacent about the possibility of a relatively weak hurricane. Most fatalities during hurricanes happen because of drowning, not because of wind speed, he said. Hurricanes can also cause spin-off tornadoes and power outages.

The best way to prepare for a hurricane is to have an emergency supply kit ready.

That kit should include:

• Flashlight and battery-powered radio with extra batteries.

• Non-perishable food for at least three days.

• One gallon of water, per person, per day for at least three days.

• Toiletry items.

• Pet food and pet supplies.

• Medicine and prescription medication.

• Copies of important family papers and documents.

• Cash and travelers checks, enough to fill up your vehicle with fuel.