Hurricane season starts today; officials predict large number of storms

Published 12:09 am Saturday, June 1, 2013

NATCHEZOn the eve of hurricane season, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Robert Latham said Miss-Lou residents might not be doing their part to prepare.

“People often want to wait to deal with a storm when it happens,” Latham said. “I believe that preparing in advance is the most important part of surviving hurricane season.”

Today marks the beginning of an above-average hurricane season, according to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s annual prediction.

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NOAA’s Atlantic hurricane season outlook predicts a 70 percent likelihood of 13-20 named storms, 7-11 hurricanes and 3-6 major hurricanes. Those numbers are well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30, though storms often form outside of those dates.

The Miss-Lou typically doesn’t take the brunt of hurricane landfalls but may see localized flooding in the case of heavy rainfall because of a storm, especially with the high Mississippi River level, according to Latham.

“A lot of people think that hurricanes are a coastal problem,” Latham said. “Katrina changed that mindset. Adams County and inland areas are subject to the effects of spin-off tornadoes and localized flooding, among other things.”

Though many agencies advocate preparing a survival kit, Latham suggested a new way to prepare — scanning important documents onto a flash drive and putting them on a key ring.

“It’s the actions of individuals that determine how the hurricane season plays out,” he said. “I firmly believe that individual and family preparedness is incredibly important. Everyone in the family needs to know the plan when a hurricane strikes.”