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Hurricane season starts Tuesday

NATCHEZ — Hurricane season starts Tuesday, and according to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, it is going to be a busy season.

NOAA is projecting a 70 percent probability of 14 to 23 named storms — including eight to 14 hurricanes, three to seven of which could be major hurricanes — across the Atlantic Ocean basin.

Adams County Emergency Management Director Stan Owens said the Atlantic Coast, the Florida Panhandle and the Louisiana-Texas Coast are projected to receive the most activity.

Owens said another concern could be a hurricane coming inward from the Gulf of Mexico because it could pick up oil from the BP oil spill and cause environmental damage inland.

“The shallower the water is, the more oil it can pick up,” Owens said. “If the storm surge is strong enough, and the water is shallow enough, it could bring it in.”

Owens urged Miss-Lou residents to be prepared during the six-month hurricane season.

“They should be prepared to be self-sufficient for three days with medicine, food and water,” Owens said. “One of the simple things people can do to prepare is to keep cash on hand.

“When the power goes out, the ATMs don’t work.”

Adams County Red Cross Director Debra Davis agreed with Owens, but added that people should also have first aid kits prepared.

Davis said the Adams County Red Cross has been attending hurricane workshops and conferences. Next week, the Red Cross will be handing out fliers with information on how to prepare for hurricanes.

Owens said a weather radio with specific area message encoding tuned to NOAA’s signal is a way to stay up to date.

“You will get the message the same time I get it,” Owens said. “It is a pretty inexpensive way to protect your family.”

According to NOAA, a typical seasonal average is 11 named storms and six hurricanes, two of them major.

Today is the last day of National Hurricane Preparedness Week. For more information, visit www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/intro.shtml.