May 27, 2015 --
The 2015 Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and is predicted to be a below-normal season, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration press release issued May 27.
However, Steve Dancer, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Emergency Manager, continues to keep a close watch on the weather in both the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico “because it only takes one hurricane to change your life and community.”
The hurricane season will last until Nov. 31.
For the entire six-month season, Dancer will monitor storms that may impact the Marines, their families and civilian-Marines, who are stationed or work aboard MCLB Albany.
“Although the season is forecasted to be slow, everyone needs to guard against complacency,” Dancer said. “It has been several years since the U.S. has had an active hurricane season in which a major storm has made landfall.
“We have already had our first named storm, Subtropical Storm Ana, to develop off the coast of Georgia, before the hurricane season officially starts,” Dancer said.
NOAA weather officials predict a 70-percent likelihood of six to 11 named storms, of which three to six could become hurricanes, including two that could be classified as major hurricanes for the Atlantic Basin.
This is below the 30-year average of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes, according to the website, www.weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/hurricane-season-forecast-atlantic-weather-channel-csu.
The emergency manager said the time to prepare is now, not when a hurricane is approaching.
Dancer suggests everyone have an emergency action plan for their families and include evacuation plans for hurricanes, tornadoes and floods.
“It’s all about being prepared for the worst,” he said. “It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.”
According to NOAA, the primary hazards from hurricanes are storm surge flooding, high surf, rip currents, destructive winds, tornadoes and inland flooding from heavy rains.
Dancer said the Northeast quadrant of a hurricane is always the worst section of a storm because that is where tornadoes occur.
“With that in mind, everyone should go over their emergency action plans in case a tornado touches down,” he said. “People should find an interior room that does not have windows and is more structurally sound than the rest of the house.”
Another hazard associated with a hurricane is flooding.
“The impact from flooding is not only the water itself, but the possibility of stray animals, contaminated drinking water and a shortness of food, to name a few.
Dancer said this year marks the 21st anniversary of the Albany Flood, which was a result of Tropical Storm Alberto that dropped 24.43 inches of rain here in a 24-hour period on July 11, 1994.
He recommends everyone have extra water just in case the water supply is contaminated like it was in 1994 or there is a loss of water pressure.
Dancer also warns Albany could see an influx of people if a strong hurricane comes up from the Gulf of Mexico. Other issues may arise that include more traffic, hotels may have few vacancies and less food on grocery stores' shelves.
For more information on how to prepare for hurricanes and other severe weather, call 229-639-5746 or visit the following websites, www.ready.ga.gov or www.ready.ga.gov/Prepare/Georgia-Pets or www.redcross.org.