Even Marines watch for hurricanes - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Even Marines watch for hurricanes

May 30, 2008

Albany - As you certainly know by now, hurricane season begins on Sunday. And while Albany is not directly on the coast, the Marine Corps Logistics Base could feel the effects even if a storm doesn't come close to the city.

It's that time of the year again. Hurricane season. Anyone living on or near the coast is vulnerable. And while the United States military is the finest fighting force in the world, even the Marines know to respect the power of nature.

"Absolutely, the Marines are very mindful of the threat of hurricanes and keep a close ear anytime the Weather Service announces any hazards,"  says spokesman Lt. Caleb Eames.

At the Marine Base in Albany, plans are in place to not only take care of the troops that are stationed there, but to also take care of troops from other bases in the Southeast.

 "We've got warehouse space where we can accommodate people on a short term basis," said Lt. Cmdr. Mark Rouleau.

And when the evacuees got to the base, "The base would activate certain contracts in order to feed them, provide them with sanitary facilities, provide adequate water and really keep them here and provide for their basic needs as long as they need to remain here in Albany," says Eames.

In the event of a natural disaster there could be several thousand Marines, soldiers and sailors housed in a warehouse that looks a little bit like this one for up to several weeks at a time.

In fact, MCLB has a history of housing Marines from other bases during hurricanes. In 2005, 6000 evacuees from the Pensacola Naval Air Station were housed in temporary quarters set up on the base as Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast.

And while hopefully 2008 does not bring a repeat of that tragic chapter in American history, you can be sure the Marines here will always be prepared.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs until November 30th. According to the tropical experts at NOAA, there is 90% chance that the number of hurricanes is expected to be at least normal this season. Since 1851, 32 hurricanes and tropical storms have passed within 25 miles of Albany.

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