Southeast operators on standby for hurricane season

National forecasters are predicting a “near-normal Atlantic hurricane season” this year. When it comes to hurricanes, however, “normal” is not necessarily good news–that category could include four to eight hurricanes, including two to four major hurricanes packing winds of 111 mph or more.

“They say it looks like there is a normal likelihood for a major hurricane making landfall along the U.S. coast. It only takes one to make for an active season,” said James Kelton, chairman of the Southeastern Regional Emergency Evacuation Committee, also known as SEEVAC, that coordinates motorcoach responses with state emergency management agencies in the southeastern U.S.

SEEVAC can assist state agencies in deploying 3,300 to 3,500 motorcoaches, said Kelton, who is also president of Kelton Tours in Gadsden, Alabama. “We primarily assist in moving people from low-lying areas.”

For the 2019 southeastern hurricane season, which runs through November 30, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) “forecasts a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, a 30 percent chance of an above-normal season and a 30 percent chance of a below-normal season. NOAA predicts a likely range of 9 to 15 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 4 to 8 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).”

SEEVAC assisted in two major hurricane deployments last year, Kelton said.


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