Monday, 07 May 2007 01:00
Water Managers - Hurricane" Tolbert"Written by WGCU Newsroom
Water managers are conducting their own exercises in conjunction with the statewide effort launched today.
Emergency officials at the South Florida Water Management District normally hold their own hurricane preparation dry run, but because the imaginary Hurricane Tolbert made landfall within the District this year they decided to join up with the statewide exercises.
Director of Emergency Management for the District - Olivia McClain – says once Tolbert makes landfall they’ll act as if it’s real and proceed from there…
“We will be deploying troops as you would say out to our critical facilities. Our damage assessment teams will be going out and simulating all the paperwork they have to do for damage assessment and reporting that back. We’ll be testing our alternate communication systems. With a major hurricane you’re going to loose communication, landlines… so we’re testing satellite radios and all our redundant communications as well.”
The exercise lasts 3 days. McClain says right now the water District’s Emergency Operations Center is activated because of ongoing drought conditions…so this test gives them a unique chance to see if they’re ready to handle two emergencies at once.
Emergency officials with the South Florida Water Management District are holding mock hurricane exercises this week in conjunction with state emergency managers. Because of severe drought conditions the district’s Emergency Operations Center has been recently activated – and that means this year water officials have a unique chance to test their ability to respond to simultaneous challenges.
The District’s Director of Emergency Management – Olivia McClain – says the fact that it’s dry right now doesn’t mean there’s less for water managers to be concerned about from the upcoming hurricane season.
“Sometimes you can experience even more flooding when the ground is hard and you get a lot of rain at one time, then the ground can’t absorb that rainfall as quickly as it normally would. So you’re going to have a lot of rain standing on the surface.”
McClain says because the South Florida Water Management District is so big they could easily be facing a land-falling hurricane in one region while other areas are still facing severe shortages.
The statewide mock hurricane exercises got underway Monday and run through Thursday.