Hurricane Preparations Encouraged as Season Begins
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Moore County has been experiencing a significant amount of rain lately.
But with hurricane season fast approaching, the county could be in store for more than just moisture.
It is essential to be prepared for a hurricane before it's too late, according to county and state emergency management officials. In anticipation of June 1 marking the the start of the 2010 hurricane season, this week has been declared National Hurricane Preparedness Week.
The past year was a relatively mild hurricane season. But experts are warning that a more active than average hurricane season appears to be approaching.
On Thursday, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that it is predicting as many as 23 named storms, eight to 14 of which could turn into a hurricane. Of those, three to seven could become "major" hurricanes. If that holds true, this could be "one of the more active seasons on record," according to the NOAA.
While Moore County has less to be worried about than other North Carolina counties closer to the coast - the state is the second-most prone to hurricanes in the nation - local officials are urging residents to be prepared for power outages, flooding and other damage.
Scot Brooks, Moore County emergency manager, said this week that the county's emergency operations plan has been reviewed and updated as of April. The county has held preparedness training programs for both staff and public officials, amongs other exercises.
"We participated in the two-day statewide hurricane exercise, and we conducted our own county exercise," he said.
The goal, he said, is for officials to "refresh themselves and be familiar with the EOC (emergency operations center) and how it operates."
Residents are encouraged to follow the lead of public officials and take certain emergency precautions, such as preparing a 72-hour kit that includes food, water and other equipment.
Brooks said the American Red Cross can provide more information on how to prepare a properly stocked kit.
Several local residents involved in the Moore Friends group saw the enormously destructive nature of a hurricane firsthand while participating in relief efforts in Bay St. Louis, a resort town devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Bob Boone, who served as vice chairman of Moore Friends, said that seeing what happened in Bay St. Louis "made me really realize that you're on your own for the first 72 hours." He stressed the particular importance of water, saying that he fills a bathtub with water in preparation of potential weather emergencies.
Another safety tip he suggested was to "check the trees around your house and cut out all the dead limbs."
Experts in climatology predict that a mild hurricane season could be a thing of the past because of global warming. Although scientists acknowledge a lack of certainty and wholly conclusive evidence, the most recent consensus suggests that warmer waters will make hurricanes less frequent, but more powerful.
Whatever the case, it is important to be prepared in the face of the prediction for the 2010 hurricane season, according to Brooks. Once a hurricane strikes, it can be too late to obtain the necessary supplies.
"We are in a significant risk for a hurricane every year," Brooks said. "We've just been blessed for many, many years now."
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