Public Information Statement
Sunday, May 24, 2009


...THIS IS HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS WEEK...

HISTORY TEACHES US THAT A LACK OF HURRICANE AWARENESS AND
PREPARATION ARE COMMON THREADS AMONG ALL MAJOR HURRICANE DISASTERS.
BY KNOWING YOUR VULNERABILITY AND WHAT ACTIONS YOU SHOULD TAKE, YOU
CAN REDUCE THE EFFECTS OF A HURRICANE DISASTER.

THE GOAL OF HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS WEEK IS TO PROVIDE EDUCATION
ABOUT THE HAZARDS ASSOCIATED WITH A HURRICANE WHICH WILL PREPARE YOU
TO TAKE ACTION AS A HURRICANE APPROACHES. THIS INFORMATION MAY SAVE
YOUR LIFE...AT WORK, HOME, ON THE ROAD, OR ON THE WATER. EACH DAY OF
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS WEEK FEATURES A UNIQUE TOPIC RELEVANT TO
EDUCATION AND AWARENESS. HURRICANE SEASON OFFICIALLY RUNS FROM JUNE
1ST UNTIL NOVEMBER 30TH FOR THE ATLANTIC, CARIBBEAN AND GULF OF
MEXICO.

TODAY WE WILL FOCUS ON HURRICANE HISTORY. ALTHOUGH CENTRAL ALABAMA
IS NOT ADJACENT TO ANY LARGE WATER BODY...WE ARE CLOSE ENOUGH THAT
HURRICANES AND TROPICAL STORMS CAN HAVE A DEVASTATING IMPACT ACROSS
THE AREA.

HERE ARE A FEW HURRICANES THAT HAVE HAD A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON
CENTRAL ALABAMA.

HURRICANE RITA 2005...RITA FORMED AS A TROPICAL DEPRESSION LATE ON
SEPTEMBER 17TH AND TRACKED WEST NORTHWESTWARD ACROSS THE CENTRAL GULF
OF MEXICO. RITA REACHED A MAXIMUM INTENSITY AROUND 180 MPH (CATEGORY
5) ON SEPTEMBER 22ND AND THEN WEAKENED BEFORE LANDFALL. ON
SEPTEMBER 24TH...RITA MADE LANDFALL AS A CATEGORY 3 HURRICANE NEAR
THE TEXAS/LOUISIANA BORDER. THE REMNANTS OF RITA CONTINUED
NORTHWARD ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS...CENTRAL ARKANSAS...SOUTHEASTERN
MISSOURI...AND SOUTHERN ILLINOIS BEFORE COMPLETELY DISSIPATING
AFTER MERGING WITH A FRONTAL SYSTEM. A FEEDER BAND ASSOCIATED WITH
RITA PRODUCED THE SECOND LARGEST SINGLE DAY TORNADO OUTBREAK IN
CENTRAL ALABAMA HISTORY ON SEPTEMBER 25TH. TWENTY ONE DISTINCT
TORNADO DAMAGE PATHS WERE SURVEYED IN TUSCALOOSA, PICKENS, GREENE,
WINSTON, SUMTER, LAMAR, FAYETTE, AND MARION COUNTIES. TORNADO DAMAGE
WAS ESTIMATED AT A FEW MILLION DOLLARS ACROSS CENTRAL ALABAMA. THESE
TORNADOES WERE PRODUCED SOME 350-400 MILES EAST OF THE CENTRAL
CIRCULATION.

HURRICANE KATRINA 2005...KATRINA FORMED AS A TROPICAL DEPRESSION ON
AUGUST 23RD AND MOVED WESTWARD ACROSS FAR SOUTHERN FLORIDA. KATRINA
REACHED A MAXIMUM INTENSITY OF 175 MPH (CATEGORY 5) ON AUGUST 28TH IN
THE EASTERN GULF OF MEXICO. KATRINA TURNED NORTHWARD AND PRODUCED
DEVASTATING DAMAGE TO NEW ORLEANS AND THE MISSISSIPPI COAST AS A
CATEGORY 3 HURRICANE. THE REMNANTS OF KATRINA CONTINUED NORTHWARD
INTO THE TENNESSEE AND OHIO VALLEYS BEFORE DISSIPATING INTO A
FRONTAL ZONE NEAR THE GREAT LAKES ON AUGUST 31ST. DUE TO KATRINA`S
CLOSE PROXIMITY TO THE ALABAMA/MISSISSIPPI STATE LINE...CENTRAL
ALABAMA RECEIVED WIDESPREAD WIND DAMAGE FROM THIS LARGE HURRICANE.
MAXIMUM WIND GUSTS WERE ESTIMATED BETWEEN 45 AND 85 MPH ACROSS
CENTRAL ALABAMA. NUMEROUS TREES AND POWER LINES WERE DOWNED
AREAWIDE, MINOR TO MAJOR STRUCTURAL DAMAGED OCCURRED AND POWER
OUTAGES WERE WIDESPREAD. MANY LOCATIONS WERE WITHOUT POWER FOR MORE
THAN A WEEK. RAINFALL WAS GENERALLY LIMITED TO AREAS WEST OF
INTERSTATE 65 WITH A MAXIMUM OF 4-5 INCHES WHICH OCCURRED NEAR THE
ALABAMA/MISSISSIPPI STATE LINE. FEEDER BANDS ASSOCIATED WITH
KATRINA PRODUCED FOUR TORNADOES IN MACON, TALLAPOOSA, BULLOCK,
MONTGOMERY AND CALHOUN COUNTIES.

HURRICANE DENNIS 2005...DENNIS FORMED AS A TROPICAL DEPRESSION ON
JULY 4TH IN THE CARIBBEAN. DENNIS TRACKED NORTHWESTWARD AND REACHED
CATEGORY 4 STRENGTH AROUND 150 MPH JUST SOUTH OF CUBA. DENNIS MADE
LANDFALL NEAR NAVARRE BEACH IN THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE AS A CATEGORY 3
STORM ON JULY 10TH. THE REMNANTS OF DENNIS CONTINUED NORTHWARD AND
EVENTUALLY DISSIPATED ON JULY 18TH IN SOUTHEASTERN CANADA AS IT WAS
ABSORBED INTO AN EXTRA-TROPICAL LOW. DENNIS`S LOCAL EFFECTS WERE
WIDESPREAD ACROSS CENTRAL ALABAMA. THREE TO SIX INCH RAINFALLS
OCCURRED WEST OF INTERSTATE 65...WITH TWO TO THREE INCHES EAST OF
THE INTERSTATE. MANY COUNTIES REPORTED FLASH FLOODING DUE TO
THE INTENSITY OF RAIN AND MINOR RIVER FLOODING OCCURRED. WIND GUSTS
ASSOCIATED WITH DENNIS PRODUCED DAMAGE IN ALL 39 CENTRAL ALABAMA
COUNTIES. MAXIMUM WIND GUSTS WERE ESTIMATED BETWEEN 70 AND 80 MPH
NEAR THE PATH OF DENNIS...MAINLY IN THE SOUTHWEST SECTIONS OF THE
AREA. THE REMAINDER OF THE AREA RECEIVED ISOLATED WIND GUSTS AROUND
60 MPH. NUMEROUS TREES AND POWER LINES WERE DOWNED AND POWER OUTAGES
OCCURRED. MANY STRUCTURES AND AUTOMOBILES WERE DAMAGED BY THE
FALLEN TREES.

HURRICANE IVAN 2004...IVAN FORMED AS A TROPICAL DEPRESSION ON
SEPTEMBER 2ND WELL OUT INTO THE ATLANTIC OCEAN. IVAN BECAME A
CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE WITH MAXIMUM WINDS AROUND 160 MPH AS IT PASSED
NEAR THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ON SEPTEMBER 9TH. IVAN ENTERED THE GULF
OF MEXICO MOVING NORTHWARD AND MADE LANDFALL NEAR GULF SHORES,
ALABAMA WITH WINDS AROUND 120 MPH ON SEPTEMBER 16TH. THE REMNANTS
OF IVAN MOVED NORTHEAST AND WEAKENED BEFORE MERGING WITH A FRONTAL
SYSTEM NEAR THE DELMARVA PENINSULA ON SEPTEMBER 18TH. IVAN PRODUCED
MAXIMUM WIND GUSTS OF 50 TO 90 MPH ACROSS CENTRAL ALABAMA. TREE AND
POWER LINE DAMAGE WAS EXTENSIVE AND MANY LOCATIONS WERE WITHOUT
POWER FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME. STRUCTURE DAMAGE WAS WIDESPREAD.
IVAN PRODUCED A LARGE SWATH OF HEAVY RAINFALL...GENERALLY FOUR TO
EIGHT INCHES WITH SOME ISOLATED AMOUNTS OF MORE THAN 10 INCHES. 
FLASH FLOODING OCCURRED IN SEVERAL LOCATIONS DUE TO THE INTENSITY AND THE
AMOUNT OF RAIN.

HURRICANE OPAL 1995...OPAL FORMED AS A TROPICAL DEPRESSION ON
SEPTEMBER 27TH NEAR THE YUCATAN PENINSULA. OPAL TRACKED GENERALLY
NORTHEASTWARD AND STRENGTHENED INTO A CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE ON
OCTOBER 4TH IN THE NORTH CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO. OPAL WEAKENED A
BIT AND WAS A CATEGORY 3 WHEN IT MADE LANDFALL NEAR PENSACOLA,
FLORIDA LATE ON OCTOBER 4TH. OPAL CONTINUED QUICKLY NORTHWARD AND
DISSIPATED IN THE OHIO VALLEY ON OCTOBER 5TH. OPAL PRODUCED
WIDESPREAD DAMAGE ACROSS CENTRAL ALABAMA AS ALL 39 COUNTIES
REPORTED DAMAGE. MAXIMUM WIND GUSTS WERE ESTIMATED BETWEEN 50 AND 90
MPH. TREE AND POWER LINE DAMAGE WAS EXTENSIVE. NUMEROUS STRUCTURES
AND AUTOMOBILES WERE DAMAGED BY FALLEN TREES. POWER OUTAGES WERE
SIGNIFICANT AND SOME LOCATIONS WERE WITHOUT POWER FOR A FEW WEEKS.
AREAS EAST OF INTERSTATE 65 RECEIVED 5 TO 7 INCHES OR RAIN.

HURRICANE HAZARDS COME IN MANY FORMS ACROSS CENTRAL ALABAMA
INCLUDING TORNADOES, HIGH WINDS AND FLOODING. THIS MEANS IT IS VERY
IMPORTANT FOR YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR WORK PLACE TO HAVE A PLAN THAT
TAKES INTO ACCOUNT ALL OF THESE HAZARDS.

HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS WEEK CONTINUES ON MONDAY. WE WILL FOCUS OUR
ATTENTION ON STORM SURGE. EVEN THOUGH THESE HAZARDS DO NOT DIRECTLY
IMPACT CENTRAL ALABAMA...MANY OF US TRAVEL TO COASTAL DESTINATIONS
DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS...WHICH IS HURRICANE SEASON. BECOME EDUCATED
ON THESE HAZARDS DURING PREPAREDNESS WEEK.

FOR ADDITIONAL HISTORICAL OR PREPAREDNESS INFORMATION, YOU
CAN VISIT THESE SITES ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB:

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA
WWW.SRH.NOAA.GOV/BMX

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOBILE, ALABAMA
WWW.SRH.NOAA.GOV/MOB

NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER
WWW.NHC.NOAA.GOV
WWW.NHC.NOAA.GOV/HAW2/ENGLISH/INTRO.SHTML

FEMA
WWW.FEMA.GOV/AREYOUREADY/HURRICANES.SHTM

AMERICAN RED CROSS
WWW.REDCROSS.ORG/SERVICES/DISASTERS

NOAA COASTAL SERVICES CENTER - HISTORICAL HURRICANE TRACKS
HTTP://MAPS.CSC.NOAA.GOV/HURRICANES

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