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It’s a good idea to be storm ready

Hurricane season doesn’t officially begin until this coming Friday, but there’s a  tropical storm brewing on the Gulf of Mexico that looks to be heading our way. It already has a name – Alberto – and it could bring lots of rain to the east central Alabama-west central Georgia region.

The latest report from the National Weather Service is predicting abundant moisture along the Gulf Coast and Southeast. It looks like a wet weekend, and rainfall could extend into next week.

It’s a bummer of a way to kick off hurricane season, and one can’t help but dread that this is going to be an active year.

Whether or not that happens, it’s wise to be prepared. Fortunately for the local area, we have an excellent 9-1-1 center and Emergency Management Agency. Donnie Smith, Kathy Hornsby and the staff of the Huguley center do great work in not only handling current emergencies but also in keeping us up to date on potential storms coming this way.

According to the NWS, some 98 percent of all Presidentially declared disasters are weather related. Storms are responsible for approximately 500 deaths and $15 billion in property damage every year in the U.S.

Clearly, it’s a good idea to be ready for hurricane season. Think about what you would need if the power went off. Be sure you have working flashlights, lots of batteries, a portable radio and access to NOAA weather radio. Have bottled water, food that can last you through an emergency, a first aid kit, and know how to contact the right people in the event of an emergency.

If Alberto is here before June 1, how many more named storms are we likely to see before the 2018 season ends on November 30? What are the storm names we’ll be seeing this summer and fall? After Alberto comes Beryl, then Chris and Debby. Going down the alphabet, the other 2018 storm names for our region are Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sara, Tony, Valerie and William.

Here’s hoping that we don’t see all those names this year, and here’s asking you to be ready in case any one of them comes to visit us in the Chattahoochee Valley. We’d rather those potential visitors head in some other direction this year. If any of them make a house call to our Valley, let’s be prepared for what may come our way.