KETR Local
4:49 pm
Tue June 2, 2009

Hurricane season now underway

With hurricane season now underway, local emergency crews are hoping for the best but planning for the worst.

Thousands of evacuees sought shelter throughout the region last fall because of Hurricanes Ike and Gustav. The City of Commerce alone housed over 300 evacuees at both Texas A&M University-Commerce and the Commerce Middle School.

Hunt County Emergency Management Coordinator Richard Hill says improvement needs to come in the form of better communication between emergency management crews and evacuee shelters. He refers to cases last year where local shelters would be at capacity, and would send evacuees to other shelters they believe aren't full and/or can accommodate their needs without confirming with that particular shelter. This did cause some minor problems for area shelters and frustration for evacuees.

As far as predictions for this hurricane season go, Hill referred to a publication by Dr. William Gray from Colorado State University who specializes in hurricane forecasting.

His study reads this season will be an average hurricane season, predicting 12 named tropical storms, six hurricanes and two intense hurricanes. Dr. Grays study also estimates a 31 percent chance that the Gulf Coast from Florida to the southern portion of Texas will be impacted by a major hurricane this season.

The hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.