Smiling eyes on Emily
By Elsa Maxey
It’s been a hot, record heat summer during this hurricane season. Alan Spears, Fort Bend County’s Deputy Coordinator of the Emergency Management Center, said that “with the intense heat we have had this year, it is not surprising that it could be an active season.” He said the warmer the gulf waters, the better chance for hurricanes to form.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) earlier said all eyes were on the fifth tropical storm named Emily, which has now gone out to sea, away from the U.S. But an update from NOAA shows a 70 percent probability of seven to 10 hurricanes with top winds of 74 mph or higher taking down more than just patio umbrellas.
Three to five, it says, could be major hurricanes at a Category 3, 4 or 5 with winds at least 111 mph.
“Primed for high hurricane activity during August through October,” said a lead seasonal hurricane forecaster about NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. Remember Ike came this way in September.
Take note, between now and October, storms will form more frequently and become more intense, according to the national forecaster. “We at OEM (Office of Emergency Management) stay prepared for this type of activity,” said Spears. “The county has contracts in place for debris removal and other essential supplies, if needed.” Spears said the county’s office has put together a 110 item checklist for hurricane season, “just to make sure we have covered those things we see a need for, or that may arise,” also staying in touch with local partners and the state.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to take a few simple steps to get your family prepared. “It is still early in the season, and we want to remind the citizens of Fort Bend County not to take things for granted and be prepared.” Visit www.fbcoem.org or www.ready.gov to learn more.
The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs through Nov. 30.