MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
The Atlantic hurricane season began June 1 and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany officials are keeping a close watch on the weather in both the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, has predicted an above-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic basin for 2011.
The hurricane season will last until Nov. 31. During the six-month season, NOAA is predicting 12 to 18 named storms with winds of 39 miles per hour or higher, of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher. Three to 6 major hurricanes are expected to be category 3, 4 or 5 storms with winds of 111 mph or higher.
Each of these ranges has a 70 percent likelihood, an indication that activity will exceed the seasonal average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes, according to NOAA.
Landfall of a hurricane or tropical storm is dictated by weather patterns in place at the time the storm approaches, however, impacts are not limited to the coastline. Strong winds and flooding rainfall often pose a threat across inland areas along with the risk for tornadoes.
“We monitor the weather daily,” Ron Marcell, installation emergency manager, Mission Assurance Section, Operations and Training Division, MCLB Albany, said. “We watch the development of storms that come off the coast of Africa.”
Marcell said he keeps his eye on storms that threaten the Southeastern part of the U.S., especially if they may impact the Marines, their families and civilian-Marines who are stationed or work here.
Each year before hurricane season begins; base officials review and update hurricane procedures for MCLB Albany and memorandums of agreements with various military bases.
“Under ‘Safe Haven’ Memorandums of Agreement, military personnel from South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana can seek refuge here at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany,” Marcell said. “We have to be ready to provide evacuees essential services such as billeting, food, water and medical support plus still be able to support our own military and civilian personnel.”
Taking time to prepare before severe weather threatens is important, according to Marcell.
“Now is the time, if you haven’t already, to get your plan together for what you and your family will do when disaster strikes,” Marcell said. “While planning, consider those with special needs, elderly and pets. Make sure you have medication with the proper labels and basic necessities for several days. Also, pet owners need to remember not all shelters will take pets.”
Climate factors considered for this season’s prediction is the continuing high activity area and warm Atlantic Ocean water. The atmospheric conditions are conducive for development of tropical storms and hurricanes, leading to a more active Atlantic hurricane season since 1995 and sea surface temperatures across the Atlantic are up to two degrees Fahrenheit warmer, according to an NOAA press release.