Mississippi heeds hurricane warning

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Satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Matthew moving northwest of Cuba towards the Atlantic coast of southern Florida, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2016.

NOAA via AP

Satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Matthew moving northwest of Cuba towards the Atlantic coast of southern Florida, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2016.

Mississippi has dispatched an emergency “A-Team” to North Carolina to help prepare response and recovery efforts as Hurricane Matthew speeds toward the East Coast.

Currently a Category 4 storm with top sustained winds of 140 mph, Matthew is expected to land in Florida within the next 24 hours and then move north towards Georgia and the Carolinas.

“This is a major hurricane, something North Carolina has not experienced in more than 20 years,” says Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Lee Smithson. “Mississippi is proud to be able to send support and we are honored to have the respect of other states to request our experienced emergency management specialists.”

MEMA’s Office of Preparedness Director Susan Perkins and Operations Officer Tina Reed will help coordinate readiness and recovery resources in the area while based in Raleigh, N.C.

Greg Flynn, MEMA’s spokesperson, says the agency is sifting through requests for assistance as they come in, so more staffers may be sent to areas that Hurricane Matthew is expected to hit.

In situations such as this, states anticipating a natural disaster file requests for assistance to the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.

“They put in a request and other states say, ‘OK, we can provide you this many, and this is how much it’ll cost,” says Flynn.

Speedy restoration of electric power is crucial after a hurricane hits. Crews from Mississippi Power and Entergy Mississippi already are enroute to areas in Matthew’s predicted path.

As Gov. Phil Bryant noted Wednesday, “Unfortunately, Mississippi is well-trained in hurricanes.”