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City, county earn StormReady designation

MENDENHALL and SMITH COUNTY — The city of Mendenhall as well as Smith County have earned the latest StormReady designation by the National Weather Service.

Mississippi now has 41 StormReady designations that cover 16 cities or towns, 20 counties, three state universities and one government site.

StormReady is a nationwide program of the National Weather Service that helps communities protect their citizens during severe weather and encourages communities to take a proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations.

To be recognized as StormReady, a community must establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center; have multiple ways to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts and to alert the public; create a system that monitors weather conditions locally; promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars; and, develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.

Alan Gerard, meteorologist in charge of the NWS Jackson said, “Mendenhall is in a part of the state that is a historically very active tornado area and the StormReady process has helped prepare the citizens for any future events.”

Research from Mississippi State University showed that between 1950-2007 Smith County had the most days with tornadoes across the nation. NWS records show that since Jan 1, 2008, there have been 15 tornadoes that occurred on 11 days in Smith County.

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