Alabama Public Radio educates Alabama Gulf Coast residents on how to prepare for hurricanes.

The upcoming hurricane season is a top concern for the City of Gulf Shores. To proactively prepare residents for potential storms, a storm preparedness expo is being held today along the Alabama Gulf coast. Over 20 organizations and vendors, including window protection companies, insurance companies, and The Red Cross, will be present at the Erie Meyer Civic Center to offer valuable tips on how to handle a hurricane. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and gain insight on how to stay safe during a major storm. Gulf Shores Emergency Management Coordinator Brandon Franklin emphasizes that there are certain reminders that the general public needs to keep in mind year after year.

Franklin emphasized the importance of knowing when to evacuate, what to bring, and how to re-enter the area after a storm. He cited the example of Hurricane Sally, which caught many off guard as they underestimated its impact. Franklin advised being prepared to make the decision to evacuate, knowing where to go, and packing essential materials. He also stressed the need to consider what would be necessary upon returning after the storm.

In September 2020, Hurricane Sally wreaked havoc in the United States, causing an estimated $7 billion in damages according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website. The state of Alabama was also severely affected, as reported by NOAA.

During the Sally storm, there were several casualties reported. In Alabama, a 72-year-old man drowned in Wolf Bay while on a large boat, and his body was found floating behind an Orange Beach residence. In Georgia, a 30-year-old man lost his life when gusty winds and heavy rains caused a portion of a large oak tree to fall on a home in southwest Atlanta. Additionally, there were at least five deaths indirectly attributed to Sally, or that occurred when Sally was no longer a tropical cyclone. Unfortunately, two people lost their lives due to carbon monoxide poisoning from improper generator use, one in Pensacola and another in Baldwin County, Alabama. Furthermore, a 33-year-old man died in Foley, Alabama, when a tree fell on him while he was attempting to cut tree limbs.

According to NOAA, 2024 is anticipated to be a year filled with storms. As previously reported, this year’s hurricane season is expected to have more activity than usual. In fact, the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University is predicting a total of twenty-three named storms, eleven hurricanes, and over one hundred stormy days in 2024. This far surpasses a typical Atlantic storm season, which usually has around fourteen named storms and seven hurricanes. The National Weather Service is set to release its forecast on Thursday, which is expected to align with Colorado State’s prediction.

According to him, all the indicators that suggest the possibility of tropical development are present throughout the year. Therefore, it is highly likely that the forecasts, including his own, will be well above the average.

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