By Terri Ferguson Smith
Halloween Day is here, but wet weather may dampen the spirits of little goblins out trick-or-treating this evening. According to the National Weather Service in Jackson, it does not look to be a good for evening outdoor activities.
"We are expecting a line or broken line of heavy rain and some thunderstorms to push through the Lauderdale County and Meridian area between 6 p.m and midnight, during prime Halloween activities," said Jared Allen, NWS meteorologist. "To more refine the timing, Meridian looks to have deteriorating conditions by 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. as the heavy rain moves through. Rainfall rates will be high and a quick one to two inches can fall in a short amount of time. The strong to severe weather risk will diminish as the line pushes further east into the night towards Meridian but some gusty winds upwards of 30-40 mph aren't out of the question."
Allen said NWS advises individuals thinking about trick-or-treating to do so during the early evening before the heavy rain band approaches.
Local law enforcement officers will be out in force to watch after trick-or-treaters. During a recent meeting, Police Chief James Lee said police officers will be out in force on Halloween.
"Halloween evening, I have called for a mandatory all hands on deck," Lee said. "Every police officer who has a badge and a gun, including the reserves, will be working in the quadrants, at the mall. Every neighborhood will have one or two cops patrolling so that people can see them, the bad guys can see them and more importantly the kids can see them so they can feel like they are safe while they are getting a stomach ache."
Lee confirmed on Wednesday that the streets will be well-patrolled this evening.
Also on Wednesday, the American Red Cross, from its Jackson office, offered information to families to stay safe while trick-or-treating. ARC said Halloween’s greatest hazards aren’t vampires and villains, but falls, costume mishaps and traffic accidents. They also advised of precautions to take during severe weather.
From the American Red Cross:
If thunder roars, go indoors. If there is thunder, stay inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap. If someone is driving, they should try to exit the roadway and park, stay in the vehicle, turn on the emergency flashers and avoid touching metal surfaces. If someone is stuck outside, they should avoid high ground, water, tall trees and metal objects. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are not safe.
· Look for flame-resistant costumes.
· Plan the trick-or-treat route and make sure adults know where children are going. A parent or responsible adult should accompany young children as they make their way around the neighborhood.
· Make sure the trick-or-treaters have a flashlight. Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags. Have everyone wear light-colored clothing in order to be seen.
· Visit only the homes that have a porch light on. Accept treats at the door – never go inside.
· Instead of masks, which can cover the eyes and make it hard to see, consider using face paint.
· Walk only on the sidewalks, not in the street. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the edge of the roadway, facing traffic. Look both ways before crossing the street and cross only at the corner. Don’t cut across yards or use alleys. Don’t cross between parked cars.
· Be cautious around pets and any other animals.
Welcoming ghosts and goblins
If someone is welcoming trick-or-treaters at their home, they should make sure the outdoor light is on. Other safety steps include:
· Sweep leaves from the sidewalks and steps.
· Clear the porch or front yard of any obstacles that a child could trip over.
· Restrain any household pets.
· Use a glow stick instead of a candle in the jack-o-lantern to avoid a fire hazard.
By Terri Ferguson Smith
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