Storm models released by National Weather Service Thursday afternoon.

Issac could impact Gulf Coast

Published 8:34pm Thursday, August 23, 2012

With two tropical storms and a low-pressure system brewing in the Atlantic, weather-watchers across the Gulf Coast are keeping an eye to the south.

Tropical Storm Issac has gotten the attention of dozens of forecasters with just as many possibilities for landfall.

Escambia County Emergency Management Director David Adams said although there is no immediate concerns, he is among those officials keeping a watchful eye on the storm.

“We don’t have anything to worry about through the weekend,” Adams said. “Maybe early next week is when we might have some issues.”

Adams said the track of the storm as late as Thursday afternoon showed some directional changes with a possible strengthening of the storm — a good reason to keep an eye on Issac.

“The latest forecast for Tropical Storm Isaac shows the storm in the eastern Gulf of Mexico as a minimal hurricane early next week,” Adams said. “While it is still too early to predict the exact landfall location with any certainty, it does warrant watching the forecast for changes and timing.  If the storm holds the currently forecast track, we could see some affects as early as next Tuesday.”

Forecasters with the National Hurricane Center have released details, models and estimated paths for the storm and Adams said each of those paths should be considered.

“A lot of people look at the forecast models and only pay attention to that center black line to get an idea of where the storm will go,” Adams said. “The entire white cone area of the prediction models should be taken into consideration. Right now, that cone covers a large portion of our coastal areas. There is always a chance that the storm could make landfall inside the cone area — an area that would certainly have an effect on us.”

Although Adams said the storm could take a turn far from the Alabama coast, the possibility that it could make landfall to Brewton’s south, is keeping him on his toes.

“I certainly hope we don’t face any issues from this or any other storm this season, but we are certainly going to be prepared if we do,” Adams said. “With the storm brewing is a perfect time to make sure everyone is doing what they can to be prepared now — and for the rest of the season.”

Adams said those with generators should take time now to ensure those machines are operating properly.

“It’s not a bad idea to get the generator cranked up and running to make sure it will work when the time comes,” Adams said. “Preparations for any kind of emergency should always be made before the emergency occurs.”

Adams said he has seen the days before a storm is predicted to strike an area become increasingly stressful — especially when it comes to shopping.

“I have seen times when people would wait until the day before a storm was expected to hit before they went to buy supplies and food,” Adams said. “Typically, those are the people who find empty shelves when they look for things like bread, bottle water and a variety of non-perishable foods. The time to prepare is now — before everything you want is gone.”

Adams suggests make sure your family has an emergency plan in place and proper instruction given to each member of the family.

“Having an emergency plan in place will help reassure everyone in the family that safety for everyone is taken care of,” Adams said. “It also means that, if anyone gets separated from the group, a central meeting location could reunite anyone displaced in the storm.”

Adams also said area residents should be watchful in the coming days to say up-to-date on information concerning the projected path of Issac or any storms on the horizon.

“Everyone needs to be vigilant in the days ahead,” Adams said. “It’s a little too early to worry right now, but we’re keeping the storms on our radar and watching to see how things go. Everyone needs to be in that frame of mind right now. There are still some factors that are playing into what the storm will do. Anything could change at any time. Any little bump in the movement or path of the storm could have a huge impact on how we are effected here.”

Information on tropical activity is updated continuously by weather trackers and officials with the National Weather Service. To follow predictions, activity, and discussions concerning storm activity, visit www.nhc.noaa.gov.

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