Hurricane Ike’s path unpredictable

Published 10:34 am Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It’s too early to tell if Pike County is in danger from Hurricane Ike, but local officials say the storm is a concern.

“I’m certainly worried about it,” said Larry Davis, director of the Pike County Emergency Management Agency. “There’s too many unpredictable things right now.”

The National Weather Service projection places Ike heading toward the Louisiana and Texas coasts, but with the storm yet to enter the Gulf of Mexico, Davis said there’s no way to know right now where it will make landfall.

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Toward the end of the week, Davis said local officials will likely gather for briefings from the National Weather Service when it’s path will be more predictable.

Jane Thrash, spokeswoman for the local American Red Cross, said volunteers are monitoring the storm and preparing local shelters.

“We’ll make contact with all of our shelters, we’ll prepare to open our Red Cross emergency operations center, and we’ll stay in contact with our volunteers,” Thrash said.

“Once we see it’s in the Gulf, we’ll begin to call down to senior adults in Pike County to make sure they’ve got weather radios, flashlights, non-perishable foods and bottled water.”

Thrash said if the storm turns toward the Gulf Coast, Pike County will likely serve as one of the main shelters for the Florida panhandle.

“If it goes into Texas, people don’t usually evacuate here,” Thrash said. “But it could easily turn and do like Ivan and Opal did.”

During Hurricane Gustav, Thrash said no shelters were opened in Pike County to push people as far north as possible.

Even if Ike does miss Pike County, Davis said the hurricane season is projected to be active, and residents should stay prepared until the season ends in November.