When my phone rang early Saturday, I knew it was a severe weather alert, and sure enough, a thunderstorm warning had been issued for our county.

I climbed out of bed and Jon was already up and dressed and had the storm closet ready for us to step into. I got into my clothes and made us some coffee. 

“You need to at least eat some toast right now,” Jon said. So I had some dry toast and my coffee as we watched and listened to Matt Labhaun on WTVA.

Soon my sisters and I were chatting back and forth on our sisters site. One was in her tornado shelter while Cindy and I were just waiting in our houses. 

Jon and I heard the wall of water when it hit. Bolts of lightening lit up the darkness of the morning. Soon David and I were talking, the storm was moving so fast that when I called him I said the storm was at his doorstep. He was already in his tornado shelter, I promised I’d call him back when it passed him by.

When the weather calmed down Jon and I went to the office and Mr. H came. He had already been talking to folks around to get some information on who had damage and who didn’t. We were grateful that there wasn’t any major damage. 

I just couldn’t believe that we were dealing with spring weather on January 11. It goes to show that a tornado can hit any time of the year.  This was a good dress rehearsal for us to make sure tornado plans are in place.

Jon and I put together our disaster kit Friday night as well as packing clothes to last us a couple or three days. Are you ready for the next one? This kind of weather is just beginning. Do you know where your community tornado shelter is or do you have a place in your home where you will shelter in place? Find it today. Figure out where you will go when the winds blow. 

Know how to put a disaster kit together quickly. We are blessed with weather understanding so that we know at least 48 to 72 hours out that we may be under the gun for severe weather, so if you know where your things are, you can put the kit together in a matter of minutes.

Here are the things you need: 3 day supply of water (1 gal. per person per day); Food that won’t spoil. Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation, or cooking and little or no water.

A change of clothing and footwear and a blanket.  One change of clothing and footwear per person and blankets or sleeping bags.

A first-aid kit for your home and your car. Be sure to include prescription medications and insulin.

Tools and emergency supplies A battery-operated radio, flashlight, extra batteries, manual can opener, sanitation items, feminine supplies, garbage bags, paper plates, cups and plastic utensils.

Extra set of car keys, credit card and cash. Special items for infants, elderly or disabled persons.

Another important thing to do is to sign up for storm warning. Pontotoc County has what we call the CodeRED weather warning system and it is absolutely free to all residents of Pontotoc County.

The CodeRED system utilizes the National Weather Service’s radar to locate severe weather and project the anticipated path of the storm.

When a severe thunderstorm, tornado or flash flood warning is issued, the CodeRED system will telephone residents whose homes lie within the projected storm’s path. There is no cost to receive the phone alerts, but residents must first register on-line to receive the calls.

CodeRED alerts residents who are in the projected path of the storm. If a warning is given for an entire county, you don’t always know exactly where the storm is headed. A phone call will wake up a lot of residents who might have fallen asleep and not know that severe weather is approaching. By going to trpdd.com/codered you can sign up for this service and you can be alerted. It is address sensitive.

Having an alert system and a plan in place is what saves lives, so make sure you are ready the next time the weather gets dicy.

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