Bentley, Faulkner discuss storm preparedness

(AP Photo/Dave Martin)
(AP Photo/Dave Martin)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – As the Atlantic hurricane season approaches, government agencies will remind residents not to become complacent just because the area hasn’t experienced a major storm in the past year or so, Gov. Robert Bentley said Wednesday.

State and federal government officials and the Alabama National Guard will hold “mock hurricane” drills to ensure residents are prepared for a big event, Bentley and Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Art Faulkner told a news conference.

“A hurricane can enter the Gulf and within eight hours change from a category 2 storm to a small category 5 storm,” Faulkner said.

“It doesn’t matter how many hurricanes are predicted for a season. It only takes one,” added Jim Stefkovich of the National Weather Service, who also attended the news conference.

As part of the exercise, law enforcement officers were sent Wednesday to interstate exits across the state to practice reversing highway traffic during a hurricane. During past storms, all lanes on Interstate 65 were switched to one direction to make it easier for residents fleeing the storms and returning home after them.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

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