EMA director urges residents to be prepared

Published 2:30 pm Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The nation’s top meteorologists are predicting an above-average hurricane season for 2011.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s forecast for the 2011 season, which begins today, calls for 12 to 18 named storms with winds 39 mph or greater.

Of those, NOAA expects six to 10 hurricanes with winds of at least 75 miles per hour. And of those, the meteorologists expect three to six could be major storms, with winds of 110 mph or greater.

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The outlook does not forecast when or where these storms will hit.

Butler County Emergency Management Agency Director Shirley Sandy emphasized the need for Butler County residents to stay alert and have a plan in the event a storm reaches the area.

“With the NOAA predicting an above-average season, everyone needs to be prepared,” she said. “They need to keep an eye out and make sure they are following any reports or warnings that are issued, and we’ll do our best to keep them informed.”

Sandy said everyone should have a plan already in place in the event that an evacuation is necessary.

“Go ahead and make a plan,” she said. “They need to know the routes ahead and time and already have a place in mind that they can go. They don’t want to have to figure that out at the last minute.”

Residents should also establish an out of area contact.

“There needs to be a person out of the path of the storm that everyone in your family can contact in the event that you get separated,” Sandy said.

“That will greatly speed up the process of reconnecting if for some reason you get separated.”

Sandy also encouraged residents to prepare a hurricane kit that has a three-day supply of water and non-perishable snacks. The kit should also include a flashlight and batteries, a blanket and a whistle or air horn.

“It’s important that they be prepared,” Sandy said.

While the 2011 season is expected to be above average, with the possibility of being severe, the NOAA does not believe it will match the 2010 season, which is ended as the third most active on record.