Mississippi preps for severe weather outbreak - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi prepares for severe weather outbreak

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Statewide emergency operations are raising a red flag about the upcoming storm system.

"The risk is still there for pretty much the entire state of Mississippi," said Mississippi Emergency Management Director Robert Latham.

On Friday, MEMA had a conference call with the Storm Prediction Center and FEMA headquarters. Latham says that is highly unusual.

Everyone's pouring over the latest forecast models at the National Weather Service Jackson and trying to better pinpoint the timeline.

Right now, the severe weather is expected to move into the Delta Sunday afternoon and the risk will stick around for most of the state all the way into Tuesday.

"There is a substantial tornado risk," said Warning Coordination Meteorologist Stephen Wilkinson. "There is a large hail risk. There is a damaging straight line wind risk. And with the repeated kind of clusters of storms or complexes of storms, that rainfall's going to add up."

That could put many communities back on flood watch for the second go-around this month.

"As we're going into the latter part of April, this is almost what I would call prime time for severe weather," explained Wilkinson.

This severe weather will all start on the three year anniversary of the tornado outbreak that included the small town of Smithville. Thirty-six people were killed across the state during that outbreak. Another 163 were injured.

Latham said the emergency alerts on newer model phones that many people turned off during the last flooding event only sound for flash flood or tornado warnings.

"I understand that there's the potential for it to be annoying but these things can save your life," said Latham.

MEMA is passing along all the information they're gathering to local emergency management officials. They'll activate the emergency operations center at a small level first and expand it, as needed.

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