Be hurricane prepared

Published 3:35 pm Saturday, May 30, 2015

It’s something that doesn’t impact us in Central Alabama too often, but the Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1 and runs through the end of November.

To that end, Gov. Robert Bentley proclaimed this past week as Hurricane Preparedness Week in Alabama.

It’s a time the National Weather Service and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency focuses on drawing attention to the threat of hurricanes. During this week, residents near the coast and even those inland should review preparedness plans and always be prepared for the next Gulf Coast hurricane.

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Though Mobile and Alabama’s beaches face higher threats, hurricanes can bring tornadoes, high winds and flooding inland for hundreds of miles.

During Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Demopolis experienced wind gusts at an estimated 90 miles per hour. That’s the equivalent of an EF-1 tornado.

Some of the worst inland flooding actually comes not from the strongest hurricanes but weaker tropical systems that move slowly across the area.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Lee dumped almost 10 inches of rain in Tuscaloosa and Jefferson counties in 2011, which caused flash flooding.

Now is a good time to think about what your family would do in the event of a hurricane.

Good questions to ask include:

Are you near a flood zone? Do you have proper insurance coverage? Do you have non-perishable food and a first aid kit? Do you have a family emergency and communication plan?

A few minutes of preparation now could help save lives and property should a hurricane or any severe weather strike.