Hurricane Season Predictions

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Hurricane season officially starts June 1st and the National Hurricane Center is predicting a very active season. But are the areas that were hit last year ready for this season? One local emergency management official believes they are.

Brazos County's new Emergency Management Coordinator, Chuck Frazier, was in charge in Orange County when Rita struck last September. He says his experience will benefit Brazos County.

" Most of our damage was related to wind damage. We had about 125 miles per hour sustained winds there. It covered most our county for the duration of 6 to 7 hours," said Frazier.

Frazier has recently been back to the Beaumont area and feels emergency management will be ready for this hurricane season because of lessons learned during Rita. Although he worries about the homeowners who still need repairs done to their houses.

Dr. Courtney Schumacher, a tropical meteorologist at Texas A&M will soon be busy tracking tropical storms.

" There's going to be 13 to 16 named storms so that's more active than normal. The average number is 10 storms for the Atlantic," said Schmacher.

Schumacher says its tough to predict which storms will actually make landfall, but advances in weather instruments will help tremendously.

" We have a lot better technology for forecast for observing storms from satellite. We have a lot of data to put into the mix to figure out what's the best way to deal with evacuations and to get the message out," said Schmacher.

Schmacher says Brazos County should not have to worry about a major hurricane touching down. But we could get heavy rainfall and strong winds.

" Be ready for whatever. Be ready to protect your family because nobody in government can protect your family as well as you can," said Frazier.

You can get an emergency preparedness kit at the Red Cross for $54.07. For more information on the kits call 776-8279.