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Alabama locals prepare for the start of hurricane season


Alabama residents are preparing for an all too familiar time of year. Hurricane season starts today and experts have rolled out overviews of the season.

Current projections are estimating a normal to slightly below average season, which includes around fourteen tropical systems and seven named storms.

John De Block is the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Birmingham. He said this hurricane season could be marked by El Nino, meaning warmer waters in the Atlantic Ocean. De Block said he hopes these warmer waters will lead to less storms for the Gulf Coast.

“So basically, what it all means is regardless of what the forecast is, one storm in the Gulf of Mexico is going to be a potential impact to folks in Alabama,” said De Block. “So, you need to be aware of the outlook, the forecast, keep your eyes and ears open for any storms that come up and be ready to take action when they do.”

De Block encouraged the public to not wait to make preparations for hurricane season. He advised that no matter where you live in the state to take note of anything that needs to be done to be safe this season.

“It's a multifaceted, kind of a hazard for you in Alabama, depending on where you are,” De Block noted. “You're along the coast, it’s one flavor. You get a little bit farther inland, it's another flavor. And then I think everybody in the state needs to be aware of the flooding and tornado potential with a hurricane.”

De Block recommended preparing an emergency bag containing clothes, medicine and any documentation that might be useful in case of a disaster. He also advised that specific preparations should be made based on where you live in the state, noting that there are region-specific threats that come with hurricane season.

“One of the things that gets overlooked frequently is the inland flooding that often curves with tropical storms and hurricanes. 15 inches of rainfall. 20 inches of rainfall in some instances is not out of the question.”

While current projections are optimistic about a below-average to average hurricane season, De Block made it clear that preparedness is still very important. He said he wants the public to be sure that they are ready for any weather events that are all too common for this time of year.

“Just remember that it only takes one storm.” De Block warned. “And certainly most years have at least one storm in the Gulf of Mexico. So it only takes that one storm making landfall in Alabama to significantly impact our friends and families in in our state.”

Hurricane season is projected to last until the end of November.

Alex Pfenenger is a student intern in the Alabama Public Radio newsroom. He is a senior at the University of Alabama studying Creative Media. He has a passion for creating audio content, which lead him to podcasting and radio work. In his free time, Alex enjoys watching sports, listening to music, and serving at the local church.
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