Emergency Officials Prepare for the Storm

Hurricane Season 2004
Hurricane Season 2004

JUNE 24, 2005 -- Emergency workers spent all day on Friday dealing with Hurricane Allen. If you haven't heard of it, that's because it's not on any radars. It's to help workers prepare for a storm.

Emergency Management Director Warren Lee describes a situation to a room full of workers.

"All of a sudden at 11:00pm we have a category 3 bearing down on us."

New Hanover County officials prepare for Hurricane Allen by closing bridges and mapping evacuation routes.

"We now have a strong category 4 hurricane. It looks like it may come closer to New Hanover County," explains Lee. Emergency management officials react to the brewing situation.

Hurricane Allen exists only on paper. However, experts are predicting there will be a plenty of real storms this hurricane season.

Like the storms that hit Florida last year, Allen is being unpredictable. This is a factor the emergency workers must take in to account.

Emergency operators answer calls from would-be stranded residents and vacationers. Even as a drill the energy is high. Pens tap nervously against notepads and operators wipe their foreheads. The storm grows, as does the intensity of the drill.

The workers want to be prepared should this become Wilmington's reality.

"That big one is out there and one day it's going to be here," says Lee.

Emergency officials spend the rest of the day riding out the storm. They know the next time they meet like this it will be for real.

Reported by Ashley Hayes