Smith County becomes Storm Ready - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Smith County becomes Storm Ready

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RALEIGH, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

It's a scene folks in Smith County face more than anyone else in the country, property destroyed, homes leveled and lives devastated, thanks to tornados.

As the county more prone to tornados than any other in the nation, Smith County has the most need for the next Storm Ready designation from the National Weather Service.

"We think that's really critical in helping save lives and prevent injuries," said NWS meteorologist Steve Wilkinson.

The list recognizes places across the country which have put the elements in place to stay a step or two ahead of the storm. Since the beginning of 2008 there have been 15 twisters on 11 days in Smith County and for the last year and a half, Emergency Operations Director Tate Revette has been guiding the process in making sure requirements were met like improved communication and local monitoring systems.

"Actually, a lot of it was in place. We just had to get the plans up to date," said Revette.

"If you're community is storm ready than you have methods of receiving the information and providing it on to the public so that they can act on it," said Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Womack

The designation is one which Womack says needs to happen in as many places across the state as possible.

"The people that wind up perishing with tornadoes, many times, is because they didn't get adequate warning. They didn't understand that there was a threat. They weren't able to take any precautions," said Womack.

Currently, Mississippi has 16 municipalities, 21 counties, three state universities and one government site designated as Storm Ready.

Womack says to make it happen, it's takes support from county and city leaders as well as an entire community.

"It just makes the community that much safer."

The designation will last for three years. After that, the county will be reassessed to make sure the requirements are still being met.

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