Safety officer keeps track of hurricanes

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 27, 2002

As of Thursday evening, Hurricane Kyle was spinning around and had not generated enough energy to do anything other than dump a lot of rain on the southern tier of states.

Captain Jim Judkins, public safety officer for the Suffolk Fire Department, said the Gulf Coast is receiving torrential rains, but in Suffolk he’d measured only slightly more than one-half inch. He will continue to monitor the storm as he does constantly whenever there’s a threat like Kyle looming in the distance.

&uot;I checked this morning and if there is a special weather statement, then I begin monitoring very closely for problems to our area,&uot; said Judkins. &uot;As of Thursday, the hurricane has made landfall and takes up as much area as the state of Florida. But, it’s not as dangerous as some have been. It’s never met its predictions; to be a category 3, but it never made it.&uot;

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As Judkins skipped through computer screens filled with maps showing the coordinates of Hurricanes Kyle, Isadore and Lili, he was able to follow the paths they’d cut across the Atlantic. Isadora and Lili are still out there, but not threats at this time.

&uot;Kyle has created a heck of a lot of rain for Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and the Florida panhandle,&uot; said Judkins. &uot;It’s moving slow right now, but it’s projected to increase speed as it moves and according to the Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service we can look for up to three inches of rain in the state of Virginia. Overnight, I recorded 57/100 of an inch in Suffolk. And, as it approaches, the storm is pulling moisture in off the Atlantic, so are likely to see a lot of rain.&uot;

While Hurricane Kyle may only dump a deluge of rain on Suffolk and surrounding areas, that fact could be taken as a great threat by some people like those in Franklin whose homes and businesses were underwater when Hurricane Floyd struck in 1999.

While rain is a much needed commodity across the currently drought stricken state of Virginia, too much at one time could be a disaster of equal proportions.

The captain added that local citizens should learn about the area in which they plan to buy or build a home. Learning the flood risks could also affect the way that a home is insured.

&uot;If you are in a floodplain, you definitely need flood insurance,&uot; said Judkins. &uot;So many people in Franklin lost a great deal because they didn’t have insurance against the flood.&uot;

Franklin stood underwater for several days after more than 100 years without a flood.

&uot;Contact local building officials, floodplain administrators, and emergency management officials to learn more about hurricane hazards,&uot; said Judkins. &uot;Disaster assistance provides a helping hand toward recovery but it is not sufficient to fully replace property. You should have maximum resources to recover.&uot;