Gov. Bentley declares state of emergency

Published 10:00 pm Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac's project path, as of 10:00 p.m. Sunday.

Gov. Robert Bentley has declared a state of emergency in Alabama in anticipation of Tropical Storm Isaac’s landfall. The governor has ordered the mandatory evacuation of Mobile and Baldwin counties.

According to Jeanna Barnes, Pike County EMA director, the 7 p.m. National Weather Service briefing indicated the tropical storm was getting more organized. “We should see a hurricane within the next few hours. This is a very large storm, tropical storm force winds extend nearly 200 miles in all directions and this is expected to expand,” she said.

As forecasts indicated a slight westerly shift in the anticipated path of the storm, Barnes warned that confidence in the forecasts varies.

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As with previous advisories, there is a low confidence with the track,” she said.  “The Destin/Pensacola area is still not off the hook just yet. It is very dangerous to assume a New Orleans landfall. We are very accustomed to having a more defined and confident track at this point in the forecast – it is not the case with Isaac. They are stressing to us to emphasize the uncertainty with the track and not to focus on the center of this storm. Also to note that in meteorology, a ‘slight’ adjustment could be off as much as 100 miles, which could make a huge impact.”

Locally, officials with the United Way have postponed the Chili Cookoff event scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.  “We have discussed it at length about endangering people in trying to get out.  The weather is going to bad at the least and we would rather move it to a later date than to chance having someone caught off in the storm,” said Tonya Gibson, executive director.

Lee Hicks, superintendent of Troy City Schools, said officials plan to monitor the storm through the evening and meet Monday to discuss contingency plans.