MILTON — The Santa Rosa County and Gulf Power are busy with preparations for what experts predict will be a possibly busier than usual hurricane season, which begins June 1.
The county held a statewide hurricane exercise at the Santa Rosa County Emergency Operations Center in Milton. Representatives from all over Santa Rosa County attended.
“The main purpose of this exercise is to test operational plan effectiveness and readiness,” Santa Rosa County public information officer Brandi Whitehurst said.
The exercise included a mock activation of a disaster response for county staff and organizations as well as off-site practice of the county’s operations plan.
Gordon Paulus, media relations officer for Gulf Power, said the company works with the county and public during and after a hurricane.
“We have two people who are staged at the Emergency Operations Center 24 hours a day throughout the storm” Paulus said. “They will be there to answer questions for the county and relay any information that they have. And what we will do from a corporate standpoint is that we will be sending out press releases to the public and the media on power outages, restoration plans, and things of that sort.”
Paulus said that customers should download the Gulf Power phone app so in the event of a hurricane they can check on power outages and restorations and other information. Customers can also go online to mygulfpower.com.
While the city and Gulf Power make preparations, it is important for residents to know what they can expect this hurricane season and plan accordingly.
According to an AccuWeather.com article, experts predict an average to slightly above average hurricane season with 12 to 15 tropical storms, 6 to 8 of those becoming hurricanes and 3 to 5 forecast to become major hurricanes.
While 2017 saw six impacts to the U.S., experts predict three to four for this year.
AccuWeather Atlantic Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski did not downplay a possibly calmer season. It only takes one big storm, he said, to cause massive damage.
For information on hurricanes or other natural disasters affecting the area, visit www.santarosa.fl.gov.