2007 Hurricane season begins - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

2007 Hurricane season begins

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June 1, 2007
by Jay Gray, NBC News 

New Orleans, LA -- There is an uneasy feeling for many along the Atlantic seaboard and Gulf Coast today.

June 1st marks the first day of hurricane season, one that forecasters say has the potential to be very active. Unfortunately, according to forecasters, this could be the start of something big.

Phil Klotzback of Colorado State University says "We're calling for a total of 17 named storms, nine hurricanes and five major category three, four, five, hurricanes this year."

A devastating prediction, especially for those still struggling to rebuild.

"It has been tough to get the party going again in the Big Easy, almost two full years after Katrina. Like everyone here, city leaders hope they are spared this season, but if not they insist New Orleans is better prepared."

City leaders have unveiled new emergency warning and evacuation plans but stress the most important strategy starts at home.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin says "each citizen needs to be responsible."

Still many in what are potentially the most dangerous areas aren't ready.

Bill Proenza, the Director of the National Hurricane Center says "more then 50 percent of the nation's population on the coastlines have no plan."
 
And they are running out of time.

Florida has a sales tax holiday on certain hurricane and severe weather preparedness items runs through June 12th.  The items covered include flashlights up to 20 dollars and tarps under 50 dollars. Weather radios up to 75 dollars will also be covered, as will gas cans or tanks, batteries, cell phone chargers, coolers and generators up to a thousand dollars.      

The state began the sales tax holiday on hurricane preparedness supplies as a way to encourage Floridians to get ready for the hurricane season. State emergency management officials say citizens have a civic duty to prepare for storms by stocking up on supplies and developing emergency plans.

The AP contributed to this report