"If you've been around for a while on the Gulf Coast, you know that the 50s and 60s and back in the 40s were some fairly active periods across the gulf coast region. In fact, I think the last time that Houston—downtown Houston experienced sustained hurricane force winds was not with Alicia in 1983, it was with the 1949 storm that came off the Bay of Campeche and moved straight north as a category-4—right across downtown Houston."
He says advances made towards better tracking hurricanes are to the benefit of everyone who might be in harms way. But Hurricane Hunter Major Chad Gibson who has flown through 60-named storms, says there's nothing like being in the eye:
"We do have satellites and they're very valuable. One thing they can't do is look inside the storm. We fly no higher than 10-thousand feet inside the storm so, we're right in the middle of it, in the thick of it, and we're directly measuring wind speeds and pressures all the way down to the surface of the water. And that gives us a direct measure on what the pressure inside the storm is, which is often correlated to the intensity of the storm."
Just as important is providing essentials to those affected. Justin Noakes is the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for HEB:
"We know the items that people like to buy during an emergency event. Things would include batteries, canned food, accepted drinks or anything that doesn't require refrigeration. So, the non-perishable items, the center store items, things that you can stockpile for a year at a time without worrying about an expiration date. So, during hurricane season, we have an aggresive delivery plan to get those products into our store prior to the storm making landfall, and then we have a strong recovery effort where we turn around and try to restock our stores as quickly as possible to support the community and help them return to a normal way of life."
Attendee Troy Reeves came from Dallas to get this valuable information:
"Down on the Gulf Coast you're worrying about the hurricanes. Up where I live, up in North Texas, I'm worrying about the spin-off, the tornadoes and all that other weather that comes after that. So, you learn alot just learning about how hurricanes work and the paths that they're going to take, because you can plan for the after affect weather."
The 2008 forecast calls for seven hurriances—three of them major—but everyone attending the seminar agree that it only takes one hit to change the lives of many people, so preparedness and the mutual sharing of information are the keys to weathering the storm.
Pat Hernandez. KUHF- Houston Public Radio News.