Ivan is a threat to Alabama

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Yet another hurricane is inching its way toward the Gulf Coast of the United States, this one stronger and more terrifying than the last two to devastate parts of Florida this season.

Ivan, who at last view was nearing the tip of Cuba, is now at a category 5 and carries with it sustained winds of 160 miles per hour.

“Maximum sustained winds reported by an Air Force Reserve Hurricane

Hunter aircraft remain near 160 mph with higher gusts,” reports the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center. “Ivan is an extremely dangerous category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Some fluctuations in strength are expected during the next 24 hours.”

At last report, the eyewall of the monstrous storm was about 30 miles south of the western tip of Cuba.

A tropical storm watch remained in effect for the Florida Keys from the seven-mile bridge westward, and a hurricane watch was expected for portions of the north central and northeastern Gulf of Mexico coast by late Monday evening.

The 5 p.m. update by the National Hurricane Center said Ivan was moving toward the north-northwest near 9 mph, but a northwestward motion was expected to resume later Monday night or early Tuesday morning.

“Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 115 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 220 miles,” the Web site stated. “During the past few hours Ham radio operators have reported wind gusts above 70 mph with trees and

powerlines down in the Pinar Del Rio Province of Western Cuba.

Though weather reports predict the massive system will take a sharp turn to the north and head up the panhandle of Florida into Georgia, meteorologists are warning residents from Texas to Florida to be prepared – and that is exactly what Roberson Bank is doing.

Bank president John Northcutt said the bank “has made arrangements” to make sure a generator is available should inclement weather knock out power to the local bank.

“We are simply putting in place a contingency plan in case the power goes out so that we can keep the main office computer up and running,” Northcutt said.

He said the move was not necessarily in response to Ivan, but said he wants to make sure the bank is prepared.

“It’s too early to tell (if the storm will affect Demopolis), we’ll just have to monitor it,” he said. “We’re just trying to make sure we have a contingency plan in place.”