Officials advise residents to always be prepared
Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal
Hurricane Season 2007 will end Friday with the Jim Wells County area left untouched once more this year.
County officials, along with meteorologists from the National Weather Service, all agree that although the major hurricanes this season skirted our area, the public must maintain a state of preparedness.
"We're relieved that there were no storms for our area. Hopefully we'll have another calm year like this one," JWC Safety Officer Israel Lopez said. "Overall, it wasn't bad this season. We had plenty of rain, which helped."
Lopez said he couldn't really make a prediction for next year, but he said it was important for the public to keep on top of hurricane preparations.
Lopez said the county is doing its part, reviewing safety procedures and continuing training for county personnel. He said it is vital that every family have a plan of action prepared in the event of a major hurricane striking the Coastal Bend.
Scott Cordero, Meteorologist in Charge at the National Weather Service office in Corpus Christi, agreed.
Cordero said the Coastal Bend area has grown dramatically since the last major hurricane in 1970, and that there is now a generation of South Texans who have never experienced the destruction involved in a major hurricane, and in his experience, there is some complacency out there.
"With the amount of new people coming in from the west and the north, and winter Texans who've decided to live here, they need to be aware of what the effects are," Cordero said.
The hurricanes of 2004 and 2005 showed how storms could change cities forever, he said.
Every person should be prepared with a plan in place, a way to evacuate and a way to let family members know where you are and what you're doing, in the event of an oncoming hurricane, Cordero said.
Despite a lack of activity in the United States, the county still experienced a normal year across the Atlantic Basin and Gulf region. Fortunately, the Coastal Bend didn't experience too much activity, Cordero said.
He said this year was a blessing. The activity experienced in 2004 and 2005 seemed to show the Gulf Coast would be a good target. Our neighbors to the south were not so lucky. Mexico experienced two Category 5 hurricanes this year, and Texas was spared by a ridge of high pressure, blocking Hurricane Dean from coming farther north, Cordero said.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted at the beginning of the 2007 hurricane season 13 to 17 named storms, seven to 10 hurricanes and three to five intense hurricanes. Cordero said the season would end with 14 named storms, five hurricanes and two intense storms (Category 5).
"The predictions weren't too far off actually," Cordero said. "The season was about average in number, but below average in intensity."
Regardless of the number of storms predicted before the season began, Cordero said it only takes one to make it a bad season for the lower Coastal Bend.
"People need to stay vigilant," Cordero said.