• 68°

Hurricane season here again

With tarps still covering some area homes, trees still lying on crushed cars, it’s time to get ready for the 2005 hurricane season, and from all indicators, it’s going to be a bumpy one.

Again!

The Atlantic will have 12 to 15 tropical storms, seven to nine of them becoming hurricanes, and three to five of those hurricanes being major, with sustained winds of at least 111 mph, Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr., head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday.

Lautenbacher said the forecast was based on a large number of factors, including air pressure, surface temperatures, and upper-, lower-, and mid-level winds.

&uot;It is setting up to make the same kind of system we had last year, for a very, very severe system,&uot; he said. &uot;Very little vertical windshear, which allows the hurricane to form. Then westerly winds which allow those winds to be pushed into an area where they can cause difficulties in our part of the world.&uot;

Last year, 12 to 15 named storms were predicted, including six to eight hurricanes, two to four of them classified major. Instead, there were six major hurricanes out of nine hurricanes and 15 named storms.

The hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

With those dates in mind, it is important to plan ahead rather than wait until a storm is possibly bearing down on the area.

According to Max Mayfield, director of the NOAA National Hurricane Center, 2004 was an indicator of why it is important to be prepared.

&uot;Last year’s hurricane season provided a reminder that planning and preparation for a hurricane do make a difference,&uot; Mayfield said. &uot;Residents in hurricane vulnerable areas who had a plan, and took individual responsibility for acting on those plans, faired far better than those who did not.&uot;

Butler County EMA Director Bob Luman concurs and said planning is the key.

&uot;The main thing that will help everybody is to have a plan on what they will do in the event of a storm,&uot; he said.

&uot;They need to know if they are going to leave town before a storm and they need to let someone know they are going. On the other hand, if they would feel now that Ivan has knocked down all the trees around their house that they’ll be safer at home, they need to make sure to have the supplies they need to get by for at least three days.&uot;

Luman’s office provides brochures that outline a preparation strategy.

Also, he can help you find information on what to do if a hurricane hits while you may be at the beach.

&uot;It is important to know what to do if you are in a coastal area and can’t get back home,&uot; he said. &uot;Be prepared to survive on your on for several days.&uot;

Luman said a big lesson the county learned during Ivan was getting information from the rural areas.

&uot;We had a lack of that information from the rural areas,&uot; he said.

&uot;There were many people that we didn’t know had problems, so we were not sure where to send resources.&uot;

He said in the upcoming storm season, if disaster strikes; do not decide everyone around your home is okay.

&uot;Don’t make that decision without first talking to the people on the street or road with you,&uot; he said.

&uot;Just because you are okay doesn’t mean the family just the road is as well.

We need to have an accounting for everyone.&uot;

He also said that it is important to give power companies a call when the power goes out using the same attitude.

&uot;They are overloaded already, but they still need to know from each individual home that power is out,&uot; he said.

He said everyone also learned the importance of relying on each other throughout the aftermath.

&uot;We found that you have to a collaborative effort between agencies,&uot; he said.

&uot;I think within in three days after Ivan we all the county’s roads back up.&uot;

So what does he advise for the upcoming season?

&uot;Watch the weather and pay attention to how big a storm is,&uot; he said. &uot;Know the differences in storms.

People need to understand that some can be quite damaging and move fast, while others can stall over an area and dump a lot of rain.

Just be prepared for anything.&uot;

For those who believe this is being an alarmist, Hurricane Adrian slammed into land in Central America on Friday.