MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday stressed the importance of everyone getting prepared for Hurricane season, especially as we approach the peak of the season, according to the National Hurricane Center. Today, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency conducted its first coordinating group call as we continue to monitor the path of Hurricane Irma. The following agencies joined the call and provided updates: Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, Alabama Department of Transportation, Alabama National Guard, Alabama Department of Human Resource, Alabama Forestry Commission and Alabama Department of Public Health.
On Wednesday, at the request of Florida Governor Rick Scott, Governor Ivey issued a supplement to the ongoing State of Emergency to extend the hours-of-service waiver for motor carriers and to waive weight regulations on commercial vehicles transporting emergency-related goods in direct response to Hurricane Harvey or in preparation for, or response to, Hurricane Irma.
“While the models project a track that does not directly impact Alabama, we must remain vigilant in both our monitoring and preparation,” Governor Ivey said. “Residents at home need to do the same, now is the time to review your preparedness plan and update supplies within your emergency preparedness kit. Once our state is cleared of the risk of major impacts we can then evaluate the level of assistance we can provide to our sister states in our region.”
Here are a few items to keep in mind as you are getting prepared for a hurricane or a tropical storm:
• Know where to go. Get the latest information from your local emergency management agency regarding evacuation routes.
• Prepare your disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate.
• Make a family emergency communication plan just in case you and your love ones are separated during the storm.
• Ensure your phone is receiving the latest text or email alerting notifications.
According to AEMA Meteorologist Jim Stefkovich, coastal areas and those in the eastern part of the state, need to prepare for the possibility of high rip currents and gusty winds up to 40mph, Sunday and Monday.
“Historically, we know storms often can change and adjust course causing major impacts on our state,” AEMA Director Brian Hastings said. “Alabama EMA, in conjunction with our state partners, will continue to make all prudent preparations to be postured for the potential severe weather impacts of Hurricane Irma.”
With evacuations underway in Florida, Alabama has the potential for a large influx of residents coming into the state.
Alabama’s Secretary of Law Enforcement Hal Taylor said, “During the next few days, we should expect heavy traffic along Alabama-Florida routes, as residents in or near Irma’s path leave their homes for safer areas. We ask Alabama motorists to account for this heavier traffic flow in their travel plans, remain patient with other motorists, and choose alternate routes when possible.”
Spokesperson for the Alabama Department of Transportation Tony Harris said, “The Alabama Department of Transportation has maintenance crews statewide that are prepared as necessary. ALDOT is also prepared to assist in any transportation related relief efforts that may arise in the moving of personnel and resources to the affected areas.”