Alabama agencies prepare for start of hurricane season

Published 8:50 pm Tuesday, May 19, 2009

For residents of Chilton County, June 1 holds no real significance. It just happens to be a date on the calendar. But, for residents along the Alabama Gulf Coast, the date marks the start of hurricane season and six months of worrying of when and where the next storm will hit.

Though the state’s coastal counties often express the most concern and worry about the upcoming season, state officials are saying hurricane season is not a coastal county problem but an every county problem.

“Hurricane Ivan a few years ago proved the destruction that could be caused in inland counties as it cut across the state,” Alabama Emergency Management Agency Public Information Officer Yasamie Richardson said.

The Alabama EMA and the Birmingham officer of the National Weather Service will conduct a hurricane exercise Wednesday to test the preparedness of state agencies in advance of hurricane season.

“We wanted to get everyone together and together run through our response both pre-landfall and post-landfall of a hurricane,” Richardson said. “We want to make sure that if there are any weaknesses in our plan or response that we have time to build them up.”

During the exercise, representatives from several state agencies will be represented at the State Emergency Operation Center in Clanton. The purpose of this exercise is to test the collective response and recovery efforts.

The hurricane season in the Atlantic begins Monday, June 1 and ends November 30.

“Our biggest worry is complacency on the part of residents,” Richardson said. “Just because the last storm didn’t hit your area doesn’t mean the next storm won’t.

“This is not a costal issue, this is an every county issue.”