Hurricane season entering peak period

Published 9:55 am Wednesday, August 23, 2006

By By Lisa Tindell – News writer
With the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season upon us, experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are again predicting an above-normal number of storms. NOAA scientists warn this year's relatively quiet start is not an indication of what the remainder of the season has in store.
David Adams, Escambia County's Emergency Management Agency director, agrees.
Late-season hurricanes are not unheard of with archives at the National Hurricane Center showing some storms forming as late in the season as November 24, only six days before the official end to the season.
The slow start to the season may have caused people to become complacent about the severity that could be faced as the season progresses.
Being prepared, just in case, is always a good idea, Adams said.
In the event that a storm of significant strength approaches this area, there are shelters that will be used if evacuation is deemed necessary.
The national Red Cross has approved W.S. Neal Middle School, Little Escambia Baptist Church in Flomaton, Escambia County High School in Atmore and Brewton Elementary School for use as shelters until the county can evaluate those or other buildings, Adams said.
In making a decision about whether or not to evacuate to a shelter, Adams suggests using good judgment.
Adams said he would encourage anyone who lives in a mobile home or in low-lying, flood-prone areas to got to a shelter or evacuate the area in the event of any level of hurricane.
Keeping up with weather reports and conditions is essential when a tropical storm or hurricane forms and enters the Gulf of Mexico.
For the entire 2006 season, which ends November 30, NOAA is projecting a total of 12 to 15 named storms of which seven to nine will intensify to hurricanes, including three or four becoming major hurricanes-rated at Category 3 or higher. This forecast is slightly lower than the outlook issued in May, but remains above the seasonal average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
As of Tuesday, officials with the National Hurricane Center had given information concerning a tropical depression near the Cape Verde Islands. Although meteorologists will continue to monitor the conditions of the storm, it is not expected to make landfall. The storm, which could become Hurricane Debbie, is expected to be an ocean storm only with no landfall predicted.