May 30 through June 3 has been dedicated as Hurricane Awareness Week in Mississippi by the Mississippi Emergency Management Association.
High wind speeds, tidal surge and tornadoes associated with hurricanes always grab attention. But in the last 30 years, more deaths occurred from inland flooding of tropical storm systems than any other natural disaster.
Statistics from the Federal Emergency Management Agency state that inland flooding is responsible for 59 percent of all deaths in the United States associated with tropical systems.
Communities not normally affected by hurricanes remain in danger due to the amount of rainfall a tropical storm can produce.
“Many of our citizens who live in low-lying areas fail to recognize the threat of flooding caused by tropical storms and hurricanes,” said Robert Latham, MEMA director. “We are talking about deaths that can be prevented if citizens take protective measures before a hurricane threatens our state.”
MEMA promoting Hurricane Awareness Week to help Mississippians recognize the dangers of tropical systems and inland flooding associated with those storms.
Additional FEMA statistics prove that some of the greatest rainfall amounts associated with tropical systems occur from weaker tropical storms that have a slow forward speed or that stall over an area. This rainfall is capable of causing as much damage as a category 2 hurricane.
Since 1970, according to the National Hurricane Center, 413 of the 510 hurricane related deaths are attributed to inland flooding.
In the event of inland flooding during a hurricane:
• Keep listening to the radio for news about what to do, where to go and places to avoid. Roadways may be closed due to water damage or covered by water.
• Obey all barricades and if you come upon a barricade or flooded road, find another route. Never attempt to drive through water covering a highway or bridge.
Mississippi is also one of the top 10 states in the United States for the number of repetitive loss structures, or structures that repeatedly flood. MEMA encourages citizens to protect their property with flood insurance.
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