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Posted 5/31/2017

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By John Barker
USACE Mobile

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, talked hurricane preparedness May 25 to kick off the June 1 start of hurricane season, hosting the annual Hurricane/Industry Day, held at the Alabama International Trade Center. The Corps, Coast Guard, NOAA, Alabama State Port Authority and other stakeholder partners have met annually since 2004, the year Hurricane Ivan swept across the Gulf of Mexico, causing billions of dollars in damage to Alabama, Florida and other Southeastern states.

“By sharing expertise and by understanding each agency’s role, we strengthen our preparedness for a hurricane or other severe weather event,” said Col. James Delapp, Mobile District commander. “It’s a great opportunity for federal, state and local agencies to go over hurricane planning, preparedness, response and recovery.”

During the meeting, NOAA Warning Coordination Meteorologist Jason Beaman shared NOAA’s prediction of an above-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic this year. Beaman said NOAA predicts 11 to 17 named storms, five to nine hurricanes and, possibly, two to four major hurricanes this year. The NOAA report indicated that warm sea surface temperatures and a weak or non-existent El Niño will contribute to the above-normal hurricane count.

Mobile District’s Dredging Project Manager George Rush spoke to stakeholders about the Corps’ upcoming and ongoing dredging efforts, while Herb Bullock talked about the Corps’ new enterprise system of presenting channel-condition surveys.

U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Fannie Wilks detailed Coast Guard operations in a severe weather event and pointed out critical Coast Guard online resources for the public. Smitty Thorn, deputy director of the Alabama State Port Authority, outlined the procedures port employees carry out during a hurricane or severe weather event.

Duane “Bubba” Poiroux, Mobile District’s chief of coastal management branch, planned and coordinated the meeting. Judy Adams, Alabama State Port Authority vice president of marketing, arranged for hosting the meeting at the International Trade Center in Mobile.

The following organizations also participated: Gulfport, Jackson County Port Authority (Pascagoula), Port of Pensacola and Panama City Port Authority, Chevron Refinery, ACBL barge line, Seacliff Agency and Cooper Marine.

“Hurricanes are a part of life here on the coast, and preparing for them is essential,” DeLapp said. “Mobile District does everything it can, but I strongly encourage individuals to visit for tips to prepare for this year’s hurricane season.”