Hurricane season getting close

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The Butler County emergency Planning Committee met Tuesday to further discuss their mitigation plan.

Before they began their discussion Emergency Planner bob Luman pointed out a very important issue.

&uot;Hurricane season is almost here,&uot; said Luman. &uot;We need to keep that in mind. Greenville is an intermediate point for people to stop and get gas or other items if there is an emergency.&uot;

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The National Weather Service released a statement based on 52 years of past global analysis saying that this hurricane season would be a busy one.

Eight hurricanes are expected to hit this year.

It expects 14-named storms also to hit causing 60 named storm days and 35 hurricane days.

For those who do not consider hurricanes a threat to Butler County, need only look to storms of the last 10 years.

In 1995, Hurricane Opal destroyed several homes in the area when it passed through with high winds and heavy rains.

A few years later, Hurricane Georges caused extensive flooding in the area.

Luman also said he had met with the state to discuss the Butler County mitigation plan.

Luman said that the meeting had produced good news.

&uot;The plan has been approved,&uot; said Luman. &uot;That is good because now we can make the corrections that need to be made.&uot;

Luman said that with the final drafts, maps would also soon be available.

State emergency planner Patrick Tritz was again in attendance to keep the committee updated on where they stood.

&uot;We have a good idea of our mitigation plan now,&uot; said Tritz. &uot;There are still some holes in it. There are a few areas that we have to polish, but we are getting there.&uot;

One of the larger accomplishments of the plan was to group the critical facilities around the county.

The committee decided that the facilities would be grouped as government buildings, law enforcement, social service agencies, water sources, fire protection facilities, water, sewer and solid waste utilities, hospitals and health care agencies, electric power and gas utilities, telephone, cable and communication facilities, and schools.

Tritz again pointed out the need for an emergency warning system.

&uot;We would like to put about 10 around the county,&uot; said Tritz. &uot;We know that we will need more, but that is just the number we are working with.’

The committee also decided that there were three block areas that they needed to focus on.

Promote natural hazard mitigation as a means to decrease loss of life, property damage and economic loss during a disaster.

Provide on-going support of the Butler County emergency Management efforts to make Butler County less vulnerable to natural disasters.

Educate the general population about natural hazards and hazard mitigation options.

According to Tritz, the committee needed to have the plan approved by June 1.

&uot;We need to have this in order so that we can run it by the county commission and various city councils,&uot; said Tritz.

The committee will next meet on Tuesday May 25.

This will be a public meeting to get input on the new mitigation plan.

Residents of Butler County are asked to attend and give their input on plans.