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June 1 was the official start of the Atlantic Basin’s hurricane season, but Arthur couldn’t wait. On May 31, it became the season’s first named storm.
Officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service are predicting a “near normal” or “above normal” hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin and Brunswick County Emergency Services wants to help residents prepare should a hurricane strike.
Brunswick County Emergency Services will sponsor its second annual Hurricane Forum at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 5, at Odell Williamson Auditorium. The public is invited.
Emergency services director Randy Thompson knows the county has seen storms in the past, but it has been several years since residents have dealt with a powerful storm.
“The most important thing with any type of emergency is ensuring that you have communicated your concerns to the public,” he said.
Last year more than 100 residents came out, and Thompson anticipates a larger crowd this year.
“We’ve had more time to advertise this year, and we are hoping for several hundred people. We would like to fill every seat in the house,” he said.
The forum will be informative with presentations from a National Weather Service representative from Miami, Fla., and Mark Sudduth, a member of the Hurricane Intercept Research Team. There will also be presentations from local law enforcement and municipalities’ representatives who will discuss how they will respond to storms.
Thompson says the ultimate goal is to make sure that Brunswick County residents are prepared should a storm hit.
“I think it will renew our efforts, let us brush the dust off the books and the plans and re-address any areas of concern,” he said.
Other topics on the agenda at Thursday night’s forum include the inland shelter plan. Residents in North Carolina’s coastal counties have often wondered what to do if they must leave the county and head inland.
“This will help answer some questions about where to evacuate. The state should be responsible for telling coastal residents where they can go because we cannot open shelters in other counties,” Thompson said.
Many residents have also been concerned about how they will be affected by the digital television switch, which will occur during one of the peak weeks of hurricane season, Thompson said.
Representatives from the FCC will address how residents not now receiving cable services will be affected during the peak season.
At the forum’s conclusion, items will be raffled to those in attendance. Drawings will be for a generator and several small items including weather radios, weather flashlights and other weather preparedness gear.
RENEE SLOAN is a staff writer and page designer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.