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Hurricane season begins, learn how to stay safe

Four soldiers paddle a boat in floodwaters.

Texas National Guard soldiers assigned to the 551st Multi-Role Bridge Company out of El Campo, Texas search a flooded neighborhoods in Orange, Texas, Sept. 3, 2017. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Joshua L. DeMotts

Military vehicles and civilian vehicles drive though a flooded street.

A unit assigned to the 551st Multi-Role Bridge Company out of El Campo, Texas searches for flooded neighborhoods in Orange, Texas, Sept. 3, 2017. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Joshua L. DeMotts

A military vehicle drives through flood waters on a street.

A unit assigned to the 551st Multi-Role Bridge Company out of El Campo, Texas searches for drives through flood waters caused by Hurricane Harvey in Orange, Texas, Sept. 3, 2017. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Joshua L. DeMotts

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO--RANDOLPH, Texas --

June 1 officially marks the beginning of hurricane season. While it is impossible to prevent a storm from happening, staying alert and prepared can ensure safety remains a top priority through the coming months.

“Last year we had some of the most costly storms in U.S. history,” said Alvin Hill, 12th Operations Support Squadron weather operations flight chief. “Hopefully that’s not the case this year, but preparedness is the key to preventing that.”

Although Joint Base San Antonio and its surrounding areas are land locked, the size of a storm and its direction determines whether the area is affected or not.

“The biggest factor that people have to understand is that though we are roughly 115 miles in from the coastal area we can still be impacted,” Hill said. “As illustrated last year with Hurricane Harvey, even though the storm’s center was more so in the south east, we still had a lot of effects that could have been worse.”

The environment where the storm forms determines the severity and patterns it has. Being close to a coast means storms can move fast.

“The environment can affect how quickly the storm develops and that’s a concern we have being so close to The Gulf of Mexico,” Hill said. “So unlike a lot of storms that you can see tracking over the continental U.S. or Atlantic, if a storms developing in the gulf rapidly there is typically less response time.

“People should already have that sense of awareness and preparatory actions done before the storm actually develops. If there’s a storm that develops and will hit land by tomorrow the stores are going to be filled with people trying to buy supplies so that’d be an issue.”

Although this year’s hurricane season just began it’s projected to be similar to last year, so it’s important to stay vigilant.

“The way things are shaping up to be this year, as the months progress, is a potential for serious storms,” Hill said. “It’s important to watch out for that and be aware of the possibilities. Have a plan. Recourses can become constrained, have extra means of communication and remember ‘turn around don’t drown.’

For safety tips and recourses visit https://www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane.