Eight years seems like a long time, but it's been that long since Alabama was last impacted by a major hurricane. On average a hurricane strikes Alabama every seven and a half years, which means we are overdue. Are you ready?
When you think of hurricanes hitting Alabama you probably picture something like this, nice weather and calm beaches that transform our coast from tropical paradise into a wall of wind and water. That picture however is about the beach. In our viewing area, the closest cities to the coast are still an hour's drive. Montgomery sits roughly 140 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico.
It's natural to feel safe from the hurricanes this far inland, but people like Ralph Hickey feel otherwise, "It happened to us in 2005 when the hurricane came through and we lost a couple trees. You just never thought this far inland we would have damages like what we had." That Eclectic tornado was the turning point for Ralph. Ralph Hickey recently built a new storm shelter, something he thought he would never need, but knew that it needed to be done. "After seeing what happened, I didn't want to take the chance with our lives." Ralph said.
When it comes to Alabama weather what type of person are you? Someone who acts pr someone who reacts? Meteorologist Eric Snitil had to interview a child who lost her family. Eric says, "It's one of the hardest things I have had to do. Something like that will change the way you feel and make you want to prevent that from happening to your family and neighbors." Being prepared for a storm can prevent this type of loss, but reacting to a storm only works if you're lucky enough to be given the chance. This is the point we are trying to make. Acting now puts you in the position to not have to react.
Hurricanes pack a punch in central Alabama. Hurricane Opal ripped through Montgomery with 90 MPH wind gusts in 1995. The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail's in Opelika course lost over seven thousand trees that night. In 2004, Ivan roared through Alabama, putting half a million Alabamians in the dark. Some people were out of power for weeks. Thirsty, hungry and in the dark, that's what a hurricane feels like in central Alabama if you aren't prepared. If someone relies on a medical device, power outages can be deadly.
Enduring a week-long power outage takes a lot of preparation. Alabama's Get 10 program encourages you to keep ten essential items in handy in case of a disaster like, bottled water, flashlights and extra batteries. You can purchase all the items on the list locally. The items are not free, but the price of preparation is worth paying.
In the eight years since the devastation of Dennis and Katrina, new people have moved to Alabama. Our memory of these storms has faded. Here's a reminder: Take the time to invest in your safety. This hurricane season, let's be a state known for acting instead of reacting.
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