Follow these steps provided by specialists with Mississippi State University's Extension Service when returning to storm damaged dwellings and beginning repairs and cleanup:
Turn off gas lines in the structure as soon as you arrive and make sure the power is off.
Check for structural damage before entering a damaged or flooded building. Look for sagging support beams in the attic or floor, and cracks in the walls, stucco, bricks, or foundation as evidence of shifting caused by the high winds or water.
Raise the windows to let out any gas fumes that may have leaked inside. Don't use a range, hot water tank, or any gas appliance until the gas company has checked the lines.
Use flashlights for lighting rather than candles or any flame. A flame could set off a fire if gas fumes are present.
Even if the structure is safe, there can still be danger lurking inside in the form of snakes or small animals which may have taken refuge from flooding.
After the area has been determined safe, make temporary repairs to prevent more damage.
Drink only bottled water or tap water that has been boiled a minimum of five minutes or treated with four to six drops of bleach per gallon of water. Stir the water to make sure the bleach is distributed before drinking.
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Check refrigerated and frozen foods if there has been a power outage. When in doubt, throw it out.
Foods in a full, free-standing freezer will remain frozen for about two days, one day if the freezer is half-full. Items that still contain ice crystals and feel "refrigerator- cold" can be refrozen.
Discard refrigerated foods if the power is out for more than four to six hours unless steps were taken ahead of time to turn the temperature to its coldest setting or ice was added to the refrigerator before the power outage. Discard any item that has risen to room temperature and has remained there for two or more hours.
Resist the urge to move around and see the damage done elsewhere. Standing water can carry deadly electrical currents from downed power lines.
A sharper focus on the economic impact of the lower Delta backwater flood of 2019 helps predict the implications of continued flooding this year.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- One of Kim Hancock’s routine jobs is assisting 4-H’ers in Jones County with their livestock projects. On Easter Sunday, she was helping some of those same young people and their families sort through the rubble of what was once their homes.
Thirty-two counties in Mississippi reported damage from a tornado outbreak April 12 that resulted in 12 fatalities, many injuries and catastrophic destruction to residential, commercial and agricultural property.
Tornadoes and damaging storms that swept through the state Easter Sunday afternoon and evening, killing 11 Mississippians also caused devastating losses to growers in the poultry industry.
A post-flood recovery meeting on Oct. 22 will help tie up some loose ends with information on agronomic and financial considerations for land that was flooded this year.
South Mississippi Delta residents are in recovery mode after returning to homes that have been under water for nearly six months, but they need materials and assistance as they try to resume their normal lives.