For Immediate Release
Sussex County has made a concerted effort to improve disaster planning, readiness, preparation and mitigation.
New Jersey will mark the beginning of a very active 2010 Atlantic hurricane season on June 1st. The consensus among weather forecasting agencies is that the upcoming season could have 15 to 18 named storms; a doubling of last year's total of nine named hurricanes. The "Hurricane Season" runs through October.
While weather forecasting is an imprecise science, it is improving and the message is clear; the potential of a devastating hurricane making landfall along the Atlantic coast is as real and threatening as ever.
Indeed, both the frequency and the ferocity of Atlantic hurricanes have been on an increase in recent years. From 1950 until 2000, the typical hurricane season included 9.6 named hurricanes. From 2000 through 2009, that same yearly average was 15.
Sussex County has made a concerted effort, especially since being impacted by Hurricanes Floyd and Ike and the August 2000 Sparta floods, to improve disaster planning, readiness, preparation and mitigation. Indeed, all Sussex County municipalities have certified emergency operations plans and are currently in the process of developing an All Hazards Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan with James Lee Witt Associates, consultants funded by a FEMA grant.
"History shows us that we could have a replay of the 1938 "Long Island Express" hurricane that slammed into Long Island, joined the Atlantic Ocean with the Long Island Sound, left 63,000 people homeless and killed 700." according to James Lee Witt, former FEMA Director. "Perhaps the next time a storm of that magnitude makes landfall it would be 30 miles to the west. In that case it would be known as the storm that demolished New York City, that put Kennedy Airport under 20 feet of water, flooded Manhattan from the Bowery to City Hall and turned the canyons between the city's skyscrapers into supercharged wind tunnels".
The Sussex County Sheriff's Office, Division of Emergency Management, reminds residents to become familiar with two programs that will assist them in not only hurricanes but other times of emergency. Both "Outbound 9-1-1" and "Register Ready" can be found on the Sheriff's Website at www.sussexcountysheriff.com. All hard-wired telephones in Sussex County are already in "Outbound 9-1-1" but people may want to register their cell phones also. "Register Ready" is a program where persons with special needs in a disaster can register and the local emergency management coordinator can be aware and address the special need.
The Sussex County Sheriff's Office and Division of Emergency Management have obtained an extensive amount of emergency equipment under federal grants to aid them in responding to emergencies. Many pieces of equipment have been distributed to local police departments and municipal emergency management offices.