Time to prepare for storm season

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 9, 2017

If the hurricane predictions from Colorado State University for 2017 come to fruition, the season would be slightly below average.

But anyone who has dealt with hurricanes in the past knows it only takes one to cause catastrophic damage.

The university released its Atlantic Hurricane Forecast and called for 11 named storms – four of which will become hurricanes and two of which would be major, category three or above storms.

Forecasters consider a normal hurricane season to have 12 named storms and more than six hurricanes.

This year’s hurricane names are: Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince and Whitney.



The Atlantic and Caribbean season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. Locals should take time now to familiarize themselves with terminology associated with hurricane season before a tropical storm or hurricane is threatening the local area.

  • Tropical depression: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 38 mph or less;
  • Tropical storm: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph;
  • Hurricane: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher.
  • Major hurricane: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 111 mph or higher (Category 3-5).




Yesterday, a statewide drill was held in advance of the season’s beginning next month, including exercises at the state EMA office in Clanton.

Covington County EMA Director Susan Harris is always stressing the importance of being prepared. “It’s important to be prepared,” she said.

Harris said it’s crucial for local families to put together a hurricane preparedness kit.

“We want everyone to be prepared,” she said.

The National Weather Service encourages you to do the following before the season:

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Additionally, residents should have knowledge of hurricane evacuation routes, which run down Hwy. 55, and families need to have a plan of where to go in case of evacuation.

Those living in low-lying areas that are prone to flooding, as well as people living in mobile homes, especially need to be prepared.

To buy plywood or other material to protect your home, as well as trim trees and shrubbery so branches don’t fly into your home.

Hurricane season begins June 1, but two storms formed before the official start last year.