Governor Robert Bentley says saving lives are his primary goal when it comes to Tropical Storm Isaac.
On Monday morning at 11 a.m., Bentley held a news conference to discuss the state's actions in preparation for Isaac. The governor stated that he has been in constant communication with his cabinet and with officials from Mobile and Baldwin Counties since before the hurricane warning was announced at 4 a.m. on Monday morning.
Bentley says the uncertainty over where the storm would make landfall caused him to issue a mandatory evacuation order for zones 1 and 2 in Mobile and Baldwin Counties. He says this helped to ensure that Alabamians would have sufficient time to evacuate. The governor also declared a state of emergency at 6 p.m. on Sunday night.
"What we're trying to do is protect the lives of the people in his area," said Bentley. "Everything else is secondary."
Bentley says he is constantly communicating with AEMA and state officials over the storm. He has also been talking with neighboring coastal Governors Scott, Bryant and Jindal. At 2 p.m. on Monday, Bentley says he will be talking with President Obama about the situation.
After the governor, Alabama EMA Director Art Faulkner urged everyone to be prepared. He said the southern third of the whole state needs to be aware of where the storm makes landfall since dangerous situations can exist hundreds of miles from the center of the storm. Faulkner feels that being prepared for these situations could save lives and help the EMA do their job.
"Those that need the most help may go without if we're having to help those who didn't plan properly," said Faulkner.
A spokesman from the National Weather Service gave an update about the storm. He said that Alabama can expect 4 foot storm surges, but that they could be as high as 8 feet. The NWS also says that Alabama will definitely see tropical force winds Tuesday and heavy rain moving in on Wednesday. The NWS feels the storm could be a category 2 by the time it makes landfall.
The County EMA Directors for both Baldwin and Mobile Counties reinforced the importance preparation. They stated that emergency shelters would be open, but people need to act now. Medication needs to be foremost above the supplies that evacuees bring.
At the end of the news conference, Bentley reinforced the idea of saving lives. He told the press that they cannot make anyone evacuate, but that it was strongly recommended. Bentley stated that FEMA was already in the area and urged citizens to be prepared for long term damage.
"There are many things that go along with a hurricane," said Bentley. "It's a longer term than 24 hours."
The following is a news release from the Office of Alabama Governor Robert Bentley:
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley on Sunday declared a statewide State of Emergency and issued mandatory evacuation orders ahead of Isaac's expected landfall as a hurricane along the Gulf Coast.
"I am urging everyone to take precautions now, monitor weather warnings, and be prepared for whatever Isaac may bring," Governor Bentley said. "By declaring this state of emergency, I am mobilizing the resources our communities need as the storm approaches."
"This state of emergency indicates we are drawing closer to feeling the impact of Isaac," Alabama EMA Director Art Faulkner said. "Please make preparations now for the potential impact of strong winds and heavy rains for your area."
Governor Bentley is also ordering a mandatory evacuation beginning at 8:00 Monday morning for Zones 1 and 2 in both Mobile and Baldwin Counties.
In Baldwin County: Zones 1 and 2 include all areas south of U.S. Highway 98 and areas on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay that are South of Interstate 10 and west of U.S. Highway 98. Additionally, all people living in proximity to the Fish, Styx, Blackwater, and Perdido Rivers should evacuate. Also, all people living in manufactured homes, and those living in low-lying, flood-prone areas should evacuate.
In Mobile County: Zones 1 and 2 include areas south of Interstate 10 and those areas that are north of I-10 and east of I-65 and east of U.S. 43. Also, all people living in manufactured homes, and those living in low-lying, flood-prone areas should evacuate.
By declaring a State of Emergency, Governor Bentley is directing the activation of the Alabama Emergency Operations Plan. Governor Bentley is also directing the appropriate state agencies to exercise their statutory authority to assist the communities and entities affected by the storm. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency is also authorized to make appropriate assessments of damages following the storm and seek any necessary state and federal assistance for affected areas.
Governor Bentley is also ordering Alabama National Guard troops to be on standby in order to assist communities that may be impacted by Isaac. All key state agencies are also on alert and ready to assist.
Residents along the coast and inland are all encouraged to continue to monitor changing weather conditions. The Ready Alabama web site, www.readyalabama.gov, includes helpful suggestions to help people prepare for the impact of a hurricane. Ready Alabama information is also available on Twitter by following @readyalabama. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency also has information online at www.ema.alabama.gov and on Twitter by following @AlabamaEMA.
Copyright 2012 WBRC. All rights reserved.
1720 Valley View Drive