Friday, September 16, 2005

It could happen here

Some people -- your faithful writer not included -- complained in July when Gov. Bob Riley ordered a mandatory evacuation of the Alabama coast in advance of Hurricane Dennis, which looked ferocious at the time but weakened before landfall. But after Hurricane Katrina brought the worst-case scenario to life in Louisiana and Mississippi last month, Riley's abundance of caution began to look like the wise decision it was.

The Birmingham News today examines how prepared Alabama would have been had Katrina scored a direct hit on the Mobile Bay area. On the plus side, the Riley administration regularly orders the flow reversed on southbound lanes of Interstate 65 in the Mobile area during evacuations to ease the traffic crunch. (Flow reversal should have occurred on interstates in the New Orleans area before Katrina hit, but if it did, I missed the images.)

In the "needs work" department, Riley says Alabama needs more shelters to house victims of a Category 4 or 5 hurricane, and it's not entirely clear how state and local officials would evacuate coastal residents too poor to own a car. But Riley has shown throughout his term that he's a governor who takes hurricane threats seriously, so I'm confident that the state will shore up any preparation shortcomings soon.


Blogger Anita said...

There actually is a plan to evacuate people from coastal Alabama who do not have the means to do it. During Dennis, under the manditory evacuation order, they sent busses into the poorer neighborhoods and took the people to shelters in safe areas. I believe there was even a phone number someone could call so they could be picked up too. I am proud of Alabama's level of preparedness and hope it continues to improve so that we won't ever experience what the people in Coastal MS and LA experienced.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

That makes me feel even better. Thanks for the info.

5:40 PM  

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