Time to prepare for hurricane season

GULF COAST MEDIA STAFF
Posted 6/17/21

Hurricane season is here and this year is predicted to be another active time. As many as 20 named storms are forecast for the Atlantic and Gulf before the season ends on Nov. 30.

Keep in mind, …

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Time to prepare for hurricane season

Posted

Hurricane season is here and this year is predicted to be another active time. As many as 20 named storms are forecast for the Atlantic and Gulf before the season ends on Nov. 30.

Keep in mind, however, that in 2020, the National Hurricane Center predicted 13 to 19 named storms. The final total was 30. That total included Sally.

Sally was predicted to be a weak Category 1 hurricane. Instead, as it made landfall in September, the storm strengthened to almost a Category 3 and then inflicted a great deal of damage and flooding as it crawled across Baldwin County at about 2 miles an hour.

Hurricane predictions have improved in recent years, particularly when it comes to anticipating the path of a storm. The forecasts are still not perfect and are sometimes not accurate in predicting the strength of a hurricane. A hurricane hitting the warm shallow waters near the coast can suddenly pick up strength, become a storm that residents might not be planning for.

Sally was a reminder that when it comes to hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, it is always good to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Local emergency officials met recently to discuss plans for the upcoming season and lessons learned in 2020. Many of their plans would also work well for residents and visitors.

Everyone should all make preparations well before a storm threatens the area. Agencies might preposition equipment and supplies. Residents should have a stock of food, water, needed medicines and supplies to secure their property.

Officials know where personnel will be stationed during and what their assignments are after landfall. Residents and visitors should have an idea where they will go if they should evacuate. People should also know when is the best time to make that decision to evacuate.

The longer the wait, the worse the traffic will be and the harder it will be to find accommodations away from the coast. Shelters can only hold a fraction of the population and waiting out a storm on a cot in an auditorium or a school gymnasium might not be most people’s idea of ideal accommodations.

The Gulf Coast is still weeks from the height of the hurricane season, but whether for emergency management officials or residents, the time to get ready has arrived.

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This editorial represents the collective opinion of the Gulf Coast Media Editorial Board, composed of editors and staff of the Gulf Coast Media family of newspapers. If you have questions or comments, or would like to send a letter to the editor for publication, please email our managing editor at allisonm@gulfcoastmedia.com.