GULF SHORES, Al (WKRG) — The images of Hurricane Ivan in September of 2004 are hard to forget. The category three hurricane slamming ashore just west of Gulf Shores, destroying almost everything in its path.
So when city leaders and first responders from across Baldwin County meet to talk about being prepared for the next storm, those images are never far away.
“A storm spinning in the Gulf is not the time to start getting prepared,” says Baldwin County Emergency Management Director Reggie Chitwood. “Now is the time.”
Forecasters predict an above-average hurricane season with 11 to 17 named storms. As many as nine of them becoming hurricanes and almost half of those major hurricanes.
State EMA Director Art Faulkner says any storm can be deadly.
“I worry sometimes that people get complacent. Not just the new people here on the coast that have never faced a hurricane but those people who have lived here for a long time that think they have ridden every storm that we’ve ever had out and the next one is not going to be any worse.”
Statistically, hurricanes strike the Alabama coast every ten years, a major hurricane every 28 years. Hurricane Ivan was almost 13 years ago and counting.
If you don’t already, make a plan. If ordered to evacuate be sure you have important papers, family mementos, medicines, pets are taken care of. Then know where you are going and leave early.