More active hurricane season expected

Today is June 1st and that means hurricane season has arrived. The National Weather Service says the Coast hasn’t gone this long without even a category one hurricane since before Hurricane Camille, explaining we’re long overdue.
It’s been nearly 12 years since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Coast, and as we surge into hurricane season, the warning has been issued: hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Meteorologist in Charge with the National Weather Service Ken Graham said, “The big thing people have to remember is whether there’s 20 storms or one, if that one hits us, it’s a busy season.”
Emergency and state leaders have been preparing year round. New this year is a storm surge warning system that will alert the public well in advance of when the most life threatening part of the storm is on its way. “It’s actually the hurricane pushing water from the Gulf of Mexico and when it arrives, that water keeps on pushing in, so it could reach all the way to I-10 in your bigger storms on the Mississippi Coast. So, that’s why it’s so dangerous. It’s not about the wind. It’s not about that category. Even a lower category system could produce a lot of storm surge and Hurricane Isaac was an example. Just a Cat 1 and we had a lot of storm surge anywhere from 5 to 12 foot in some areas from a cat one so that’s the biggest threat,” said Graham.
The theme of this year’s hurricane preparedness guide is the first 72 are on you, meaning families should have at least 72 hours or two days’ worth of supplies because officials say not being prepared, alone, could lead to an indirect cause of death from the storm. “The biggest number one reason indirectly from a tropical system for fatalities is a heart attack. When you don’t leave when you’re supposed to, the water starts coming up, the wind starts getting high, you start getting really worried and you start getting stressed,” said Graham.
Years later in the wake of Katrina, lessons learned as evidenced by improved communications with the Mississippi Wireless Integrated Network. MEMA Executive Director Lee Smithson said, “So now we have a statewide radio network that has a 97 percent coverage rate of the state. The cellular communications business doesn’t have that kind of coverage ability and all of our first responder communities have been trained on those radios.”

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