Living in Mississippi comes with a few certainties: Heat in the summer, hurricane possibilities for six months and the scourge of tornadoes. On Saturday, a tornado zeroed in on Columbus and wreaked havoc.

A 41-year-old woman died when a building collapsed on her. She is the first person to die in a tornado in 2019. We mourn for those affected by these storms, but we also must now get prepared just in case.

Tracking tornadoes is a difficult proposition under the best circumstances. As technology has continued to advance into the 21st century, pegging a general area of where tornadoes will hit has gotten more precise. But there are always the ones that seem to come out of nowhere that catch people off guard and unprepared.

Being prepared for a tornado is the prudent thing to do, because the possibility is always there — especially when the calendar hits this time of year. Mother Nature is not quite sure if it is still winter, spring or if summer is knocking at the door. Powerful weather systems seem to become more powerful, driving cold air from the north into a collision with warm moist Gulf air. That is why so often we see this time of year such dramatic temperature and weather swings. Out of those, often, tornadoes begin to churn and can so quickly and easily become killers.

Before a tornado bears down on you, have a plan. Do you know where your safe room is? How about important personal items? Do you have a weather radio? Did you download the right apps? We suggest visiting ready.gov for tips and advice on surviving tornadoes.

The best way to prepare for a tornado is to imagine your life after one. Ask yourself today, “What do I need the most to survive the storm and its aftermath?”

Sadly, when a tornado rips through a community large or small, the storm is just the beginning. There will be long, tough times ahead. Be prepared as best you can before it is too late. Tornadoes in South Mississippi are just part of the agreement of living here.

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