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Hurricane season begins Monday

The end of the school year means a summer full of leisure for local children, but summers not all fun and games. For with summer, comes hurricane season.

The 2009 Hurricane Season officially begins Monday and emergency officials are encouraging residents to prepare now.

“ This years hurricane season will require getting ready,” said Pike County Emergency Management Agency Director Larry Davis.

Discussing hurricane safety with the family, and gathering information about recent flooding can help prevent dangerous situations.

Davis said weather officials have estimated there will be10 to 12 named tropical storms, three to four with the chance of becoming hurricanes.

He also said one major hurricane could make its way to the Florida coast.

“It only takes one major hurricane to come through and devastate us,” Davis said. “That’s why we all need to be prepared.”

Residents can get prepared by making a hurricane check list and putting together a hurricane kit, stocked with non-perishable foods and bottled drinking water.

Making sure the car is filled with fuel in case of evacuation, keeping fresh batteries in case of power outages and placing important documents in waterproof containers are other steps for becoming hurricane prepared

Davis said everyone in the county should build up extra medical and money supplies, among other things.

“Residents should be able to take care of themselves for three to four days while the county is getting prepared to step in and help,” Davis said.

There are some dangerous places to be during a hurricane, setting up a stronger shelter before a storm hits is another step that should be taken, according to Davis.

“Have a place prepared that you can get to, that has a strong shelter,” Davis said. “But let out of state friends or family know how they can contact you we don’t want anyone to slip through the cracks,” Davis said.

Considering that Alabama is an evacuation area for Florida, residents of Pike County should prepare, not only for themselves, but be ready to help others in need.

“We have no pre-made shelters in Pike County, but we have shelters that are sponsored and run by the Red Cross, generally these are churches,” Davis said.

If a hurricane is going to hit Pike County, then the shelters are opened in order to provide a place for people seeking safety.

“There are plenty of churches that open their doors for those who need shelter, and the church members are very happy to help in any way they can,” Davis said. “Pike County needs to work together to make sure everyone stays safe during the hurricane season.”

Gary Goggins a meteorologist from the National Weather Service said the forecasters estimate a 50 percent chance of a normal hurricane season, and a 25 percent chance of an abnormal hurricane season.

A normal hurricane season is around 9 to 14 tropical storms and an abnormal hurricane season would either be less than nine or more the 14.