Spring weather in Mississippi is about to get weird. Be prepared.

This past Christmas, we bought a large trampoline for the grandkids. I think they’ve been on it five times.

Not because they didn’t have interest in jumping and risking potential injury – as we know children thrive on – but the weather has not been kind to my little jumpers. First, it was freezing cold for two weeks and now it rains.

All. The. Time.

Oh, I’m sure the trees and baby buds waiting to make their debut are thrilled, as are farmers since we did have a pretty good draught going on for a good bit.

But alas, the jumpers have had to remain indoors during the weekend visits, looking at the trampoline through the screen door with longing in their eyes.

However, ‘tis the season as they say. More rain is expected for most of this week and into the weekend, along with temperatures above 70s. It would appear, spring has sprung.

Don’t let the current weather reports fool you. Anyone who has lived in Mississippi long enough knows that could all change overnight – and it probably will.

There is still plenty of frigid air up north of us that will likely make its way down into Mississippi over the next month or so. When it does, it will collide with this warm, tropical weather and the potential to hear tornado sirens blasting through your slumber becomes likely.

Gov. Phil Bryant has declared this week, Feb. 19- 23 to be Mississippi Severe Weather Preparedness Week and the National Weather Service, Mississippi Emergency Management and Mississippi Department of Transportation are working with other state and local agencies to help get out information to the public about being prepared for severe weather.

While severe weather can happen at any time of the year, the busiest months for severe thunderstorms and potential tornadoes is March through May, when those cold blasts from the north come down to the South to dance with the warmer air masses headed up to us from the Gulf.

Living in Florida for 18 years, being prepared for storms is something most people practice all year. It’s never a question of when a hurricane will roll over the state, but when. Keeping your home prepared for hurricanes and severe weather in Southwest Florida was as common as folks up north having snow shovels, snow tires and salt in their garages.

Each day this week, state agencies will use social media and the news media to spread awareness on severe weather preparedness.

  • Monday, will be about severe thunderstorms. Lightning, large hail, and damaging winds from severe thunderstorms are much more frequent than tornadoes in the South.
  • Tuesday they will draw attention to hazards of flooding and flash floods. Flooding is the number one cause of weather-related fatalities behind heat.
  • Wednesday will emphasize tornado safety. A statewide tornado drill will be conducted at 9:15 a.m. Schools, businesses and other agencies are encouraged to participate with the goal of helping everyone learn lifesaving rules. Thursday will be the alternate drill day if adverse weather is expected on Wednesday.
  • Thursday will focus on lightning, often called the underrated killer. All thunderstorms have lightning and this hazard can be deceptively deadly.
  • Friday will discuss ways to receive hazardous weather advisories, watches, and warnings.

For a complete guide on how to be prepared, the NWS has prepared a nifty online pamphlet at: http://www.weather.gov/media/jan/SWPW/SpringSWPW2018.pdf.

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