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Don’t ignore severe storm warnings

Time and time again when disaster strikes, we hear the phrase, “I didn’t think this would happen here.”

In the wake of such events, we often pause to count our blessings and consider the “what ifs” for future planning.

The fact is natural disasters often occur with little warning.

Fortunately, technological advances in science and meteorology allow tiny warning windows on some of the worst weather phenomenona.

But those warnings from the National Weather Service are only good if they are taken seriously. More often than not the unpredictable nature of severe weather means warnings are periods of alert, followed by no significant happenings.

All too often many of us take for granted the idea that, “It won’t happen here.”

Consequently, warnings become background noise for many. They scoff at them and perhaps even become frustrated when emergency warnings interrupt their television watching.

Warnings are serious business however, and they can save lives.

Such warnings almost certainly helped save lives Sunday as a line of severe storms ripped across southern Mississippi spawning a large tornado that shredded portions of Hattiesburg and surrounding areas.

By Monday morning, as tornado damage was being assessed, no fatalities had been reported — which is a miracle in some ways given the apparent power of the storm.

Hattiesburg still has much cleaning up and healing to do, but rest assured, we could learn from their experience Sunday by remembering a key fact.

It can — and does — happen here.