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Crossroads prepares for 2010 hurricane season

By DAVID TEWES
April 27, 2010 at 3:04 p.m.
Updated April 26, 2010 at 11:27 p.m.


IF YOU GO:

WHAT: MidCoast Hurricane Conference

WHERE: Victoria Community Center, 2905 E. North St.

WHEN: Thursday, 8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

With an active hurricane season forecast for 2010, about 400 people from throughout the Crossroads are expected at this year's MidCoast Hurricane Conference in Victoria on Thursday.

And Linda May with the American Red Cross Crossroads Chapter said she doesn't think the participants will be disappointed.

"It looks like it's going to be a good one," she said. "They are going to get a lot of really good information that might get them through the season."

This year's keynote speaker will be Michael Lee Lockwood, who served as the emergency operations coordinator for Galveston during Hurricane Ike in 2008.

Registration is $15 prepaid and $20 at the door. The price includes breakfast and a barbecue lunch.

Questions about registration and the seminar may be directed to 361-573-2671.

Breakout topics will include "Texas Military Forces," "Traffic Management During Hurricane Evacuation," "2010 Hurricane Season Outlook," and "H-E-B Yes, We are Open."

Jeb Lacey, Victoria County emergency management coordinator, said the event is designed to raise awareness about hurricanes. Hurricane season begins June 1 and continues through Nov. 30.

The meeting is not just for emergency responders and public service representatives, Lacey said. It's for individuals, business people and anyone else interested in preparing for a hurricane.

"Disasters, when they happen, affect everyone," he said. "So we want to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to get educated and become prepared."

The more people who survive a storm because they were prepared, the more resources that frees up for recovery, Lacey said.

The National Weather Service hasn't released its forecast for the upcoming hurricane season. Researchers at Colorado State University are forecasting 15 named storms in 2010, which is about 50 percent above average.

Four of those storms could become major hurricanes.

A storm is named when winds reach 39 mph and it's considered a major hurricane when winds reach 111 mph or higher.

The forecast states the probability of a major hurricane making landfall along the U.S. coastline is 69 percent, compared with the last-century average of 52 percent.

Lacey said he hopes forecasts don't affect whether or how well people and businesses prepare for each hurricane season.

"It doesn't matter how busy Colorado State University says it's going to be," he said. "It only takes one hurricane to make it busy for a community."

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