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Gulf coast emergency managers and relief groups gather for a hurricane strategy session

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Hurricane preparations along the Alabama Gulf coast enters a second phase today. Emergency managers in Gulf Shores are gathering local disaster officials and relief organizations for a strategy session. This follows up last week’s public hurricane expo where residents got tips on preparing for a major storm. Brandon Franklin is the Emergency Management Coordinator for Gulf Shores. He says the same questions from residents keep coming up from year to year.

So just being able to pull the trigger and evacuate where to go to and, you know, What materials do I need to take with me? And especially what am I going to need when I get back from the storm?

Today’s meeting follows last Thursday’s Hurricane Expo where the general public was invited to get tips on how the weather major hurricanes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says there’s an 85% chance that the Atlantic hurricane season will be above average in storm activity. An average Atlantic hurricane season produces fourteen named storms, seven of which become hurricanes and three major hurricanes. About twenty other groups — universities, other governments, private weather companies — also have made seasonal forecasts. All but two foresee a busier, nastier summer and fall for hurricanes. Brandon Franklin says today’s hurricane strategy session will include a practice session…

“We'll do a tabletop exercise to prepare, we're actually going to use the same scenario from Hurricane Ivan from 2004,” he said. “Since it's the 20th anniversary year of that storm, so we'll kind of go through that and how would we tackle that storm today as compared to 20 years ago?”

The Gulf coast still remembers the sting of hurricane Sally in 2020. NOAA’s website said…

Hurricane Sally made landfall at Gulf Shores, Alabama, on September 16, 2020 as a Category two storm with sustained winds of 105 mph and devastating storm surge. Battering the Alabama and Florida coastlines for over six hours, the storm’s impacts extended across a broad area of the northern Gulf of Mexico. The storm’s eastward trajectory largely spared these areas, but the impacts to the coastal communities were significant. The hardest hit areas were from Gulf Shores, Alabama, east to the Florida Panhandle. Close to 1,000 pollution targets, mostly sunken and stranded commercial and recreational vessels, have been identified to date.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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