'06 Storms expected 'worst yet'

Published 10:54 pm Monday, March 6, 2006

By By Lydia Grimes
Forecasters are predicting an ominous 2006 hurricane season – saying it's the worst season they've ever seen and predicting back-to-back hurricanes. While it may seem too early in the year to be thinking about the upcoming hurricane season, David Jennings, director of Emergency Management Agency, says now is the perfect time to gear up.
"All of the predicted forecasts are saying this hurricane season will be more severe than the last two years," Jennings said. "On the other hand, the last two years have been worse than was predicted. Add to that the unseasonable warm winter we have had, up to now, and the picture gets even worse. Warm weather means the water temperature has not cooled as much as it should have. Warmer weather is a great factor in the intensity of upcoming storms."
In light of all this, Jennings recommends that people should get as ready as they can while they can.
"It's not too early," he said. "Start taking precautions now and you won't be so stressed if, and when, there is another storm."
Some of the recommendations he suggests are to start collecting non-perishable items now and get all things you think you will need that have a long shelf life. Get batteries and flashlights and make plans for the elderly.
Everyone has heard the old clich/ of saving for a rainy day. After a hurricane, when the banks are down, it's too late to get money out of your checking account. Everyone needs to make plans and have a sum of cash to use until everything is up and running again.
"One of the things people can do ahead of time is to check with their insurance company," Jennings said. "Touch base with them and make sure you have the coverage that you think you have. So many people find out they are not covered when it is too late. Insurance companies may require a waiting period, so don't wait."
"Above all else, when we hear there is a category four or five hurricane coming our way, we need to leave and find a safer place to wait out the storm," he added. "Don't wait too late and be caught on the road somewhere. We must remember that everyone is going to be headed north and traffic bottlenecks early. Make some plans."
Jennings says that people are better prepared than they were when Ivan hit and that is a good thing. Everyone needs to be able to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours or longer.
Another hurricane heading toward Brewton is not a scenario that one wants to think about, but if it happens, it is best to be prepared, Jennings said.

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