Preparedness

Alabama Issues 'State of Emergency' in Advance to Tropical Storm Gordon

Tropical Storm Gordon was located about 190 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and was moving west-northwest at 15 mph.

by John Sharp, Alabama Media Group, Birmingham / September 4, 2018
A family watches the first rain clouds from Tropical Storm Gordon roll in on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, in Dauphin Island, Ala. AP/Dan Anderson

(TNS) - Eight Alabama counties are under a "State of Emergency," declared by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey earlier Tuesday in advance to Tropical Storm Gordon's arrival.

The declaration includes Baldwin, Mobile, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Monroe and Washington counties. The declaration was first announced publicly on Twitter by Alabama Emergency Management Agency director Brian Hastings.

"They felt this morning was the appropriate time to do it," said Mobile County Emergency Management Director Ronnie Adair.

Said Baldwin County Commissioner Chris Elliott: "We appreciate having the resources should we need them."

Ivey's declaration comes after the governors of Mississippi and Louisiana issued similar orders on Monday. The governor also made the same order in October 2017, in advance to Tropical Storm Nate's impact on the Alabama coast.

Nate was upgraded into a Category 1 hurricane when it made landfall, packing winds around 80 mph. Gordon could be packing winds of 70-75 mph, according to the National Weather Service's latest advisory.

Tropical Storm Gordon was located about 190 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and was moving west-northwest at 15 mph.

Ivey's order officially activates the State Emergency Operations Center in Clanton. Also, the Alabama National Guard (ALNG) has activated teams to support Division A, in the coastal portion of the state.

"All coastal Alabama residents need to prepare now ahead of tonight's potential landfall near Alabama," Ivey said in a news release. "I have directed essential state agencies to be on the ready should they be needed over the next couple of days."

Hastings, in a statement, said residents in storm surge and flood prone areas need to "get to a safe place by early afternoon" and remain sheltered until Wednesday morning, when Gordon is expect to leave the Gulf Coast.

He also said that power outages are expected, and encouraged residents to have a 72-hour emergency kit ready.

"Gordon is a tight, fast moving tropical storm. Alabama is postured for a coastal wind and water event, but the key will be the preparation of our citizens," Hastings said.

The order does not include any evacuation requirements.

Adair said that jurisdictions in South Mobile County, which are expected to experience the greatest impacts from storm surges estimated at 3 to 5 feet, could declare their own evacuation notices. So far, no evacuation notices have been issued.

A State of Emergency declaration frees up supplies and personnel that may be needed after a storm. In addition, the declaration allows the state to approach the Federal Emergency Management Agency for additional resources if needed.

Baldwin County Sheriff Huey "Hoss" Mack said the declaration is more of a "procedural thing" to make sure "resources are there if, in fact, something happens."

He wishes it had a different name, though.

"I wish we could find a better name for it," said Mack. "An emergency lends (an image) to an impending disaster or whatever. I'd like to call it a 'State of Preparation.'"

This story was updated at 9:16 a.m. on Sept. 4, 2018, to include information about Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey's "State of Emergency" declaration. 

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