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Jones County EOC preps for potential severe weather Tuesday

Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 9:57 PM CDT
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JONES COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - Several areas in the Pine Belt spent Monday planning for Tuesday’s expected storms.

Monday was a prep day for the Jones County Emergency Operations Center.

“Today we’re making sure that we test run our generators at our safe room and at the EOC,” said Jones County EOC Executive Director Paul Sheffield.

It was also a prep day for the Jones County School District. Superintendent Tommy Parker made the decision to close all Jones County schools and cancel after-school activities Tuesday.

“In our school district, our bus routes being as long as they are, we had to go ahead and make the decision to close school rather than take a chance on having students on the bus during the middle of very bad weather,” Parker said.

Back at the EOC, officials announced they will open the Jones County 361 Safe Room on Tuesday at 10 a.m. It’s located at 1425 Ellisville Blvd.

“Go ahead and get out earlier and get to that safe room before the bad weather gets there because if you leave your home in the middle of the bad weather... Now you’ve put yourself possibly at an even greater risk because now you’re trying to travel through severe weather to get to a safe place,” Sheffield said.

While the shelter is open to anyone, we’re told is especially important for people who live in mobile homes to utilize the safe room.

“My advice is always going to be for someone in a mobile home is don’t stay home,” Sheffield said. “It seems like we always have a mobile home damaged from these storms, and it doesn’t have to be a tornado. We’re anticipating some pretty high winds and a thunderstorm and 60-70 mile per hour winds can damage a mobile home without it even being a tornado.”

You also need to have several ways to receive weather alerts. That’s why the Jones County EOC uses a hyper-reach mass notification system to send out alerts when the county is under a watch or warning.

“The hyper-reach program and software that we use as the county to push out notifications and we used it last week and it worked,” Sheffield said. “We reached about 15,000 residents in the county so far that were notified that Jones County had went under a tornado watch.”

For information on how to access the hyper-reach notification system, click here.

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