Local responders prepare for an active hurricane season - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Local responders prepare for an active hurricane season

KTRE Chief Meteorologist Brad Hlozek speaks at a hurricane preparedness meeting. KTRE Chief Meteorologist Brad Hlozek speaks at a hurricane preparedness meeting.
Angelina County Judge Wes Suiter discusses the county's disaster response plans. Angelina County Judge Wes Suiter discusses the county's disaster response plans.
Lufkin Deputy City Manager Keith Wright talks to emergency officials. Lufkin Deputy City Manager Keith Wright talks to emergency officials.
ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) -

By Holley Nees - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A more active hurricane season may be just around the corner and Thursday Angelina County officials met to discuss shelter and supply plans. Hurricane Ike hit the region hard just two years ago and now shelters are ready to activate again.

"This year a lot of the ingredients are coming together to give us a favorable weather pattern for hurricane developments," said KTRE Chief Meteorologist Brad Hlozek.  "So at this point we're expecting a way more active season." 

The severity of the season depends on certain weather patterns.

"El Nino is forecasted to weaken this summer and if that happens that means the upper level winds, what we call wind shear that kind of tore the storms apart last year, won't be as strong and so with lighter winds in the upper levels of the atmosphere that again is favorable for hurricane development because it allows these storms to intensify rapidly," Hlozek explained.

County responders work together to be ready in case the region is the path of a storm.

"This year we've involved all the cities within the county and we've come together and had several training sessions with our region and with the state," said Angelina County Judge Wes Suiter.

Now, there's a concern the predicted active season could further complicate the Gulf oil spill.

"Many people think the oil could somehow perhaps slow down or weaken a hurricane," said Hlozek. "That's not true.  There's just not enough of it there.  However, on the flip-side, I think a hurricane could have a huge impact on the oil in terms of displacing it from its current location."

However, on the home front, responders are ready for the threat of high winds and torrential rain.

"We prepare for the worst and hope for the best every year," said Suiter.

Suiter also said architects are drawing up shelter plans now for Angelina County. Nacogdoches and Lufkin each received $5 million from Hurricane Ike funding to build the shelters.

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