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August 27, 2012   Email to Friend 

SOUTH ALABAMA FARMERS RUSH TO HARVEST CORN BEFORE ISAAC HITS
Mary Johnson
(334) 235-1406
August 27, 2012

The forecast from the National Hurricane Center has Isaac making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane near New Orleans. Tropical-storm force winds and heavy rains will impact the Alabama Gulf Coast Monday night and throughout the day Tuesday.
Farmers near Alabama’s Gulf Coast are working almost nonstop to harvest corn before Tropical Storm Isaac makes landfall. The heavy rains and high winds expected with the storm could blow down corn stalks, making harvest extremely difficult.

Washington County farmer Rod Richardson worked until a breakdown forced him to stop at 10 p.m. on Sunday night. About 20 percent of his corn crop is still in the fields. If the stalks are blown down, Richardson said he would lose at least half and possibly all of that corn.

“Farmers are paying close attention to the forecasts and are doing everything they can to save their crops from the wind, rain and saltwater that will come with Isaac,” said Buddy Adamson, director of Soybean, Cotton and Wheat and Feed Grains Divisions for the Alabama Farmers Federation.

The storm could impact poultry farmers, as potential power outages could strain standby generators. A report from the National Poultry Technology Center encourages poultry farmers to ensure generators are working properly and to have enough fuel and filters to run generators for at least 24 hours.

Alfa Insurance is ready to respond to claims and help policyholders affected by the storm. If necessary, Alfa Mobile Response Units will be deployed to hardest hit areas. The Alfa2GoTM app for Android and iPhone smartphones allows policyholders to locate towing and repair services, file claims, pay bills and view policies. Policyholders may also file a claim with Alfa by calling 800-964-2532.

For information on preparing for the storm, frequently asked questions about the claims process and tips on protecting property, visit the Alfa Severe Storm Center. ReadyAlabama.gov provides helpful storm preparedness information, including how to prepare an emergency kit.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has issued a hurricane warning from Morgan City, La., to Destin, Fla., which includes all the Alabama and Mississippi Gulf Coast. Hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area, and the NHC suggests making preparations now to protect life and property.

In the latest NHC forecast, Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane and come ashore early Wednesday morning near New Orleans. Sustained winds within the storm remain around 65 mph. Isaac is a large system with tropical-storm force winds extending 205 miles out from its center.

With this projected path, storm surge in coastal Alabama could be 6-to-12 feet, if the peak surge occurs during high tide. High winds and rainfall will affect the Alabama coast tonight and are forecast to strengthen through Tuesday. Potential rainfall amounts could reach 18 inches in isolated areas. Tornadoes are also a threat tonight and tomorrow, although most tornadoes associated with tropical systems are relatively weak.

Gov. Robert Bentley has issued a state of emergency in Alabama, which is part of the Alabama Emergency Operations Plan. Bentley ordered mandatory evacuations of low-lying areas of Baldwin and Mobile counties. For information on the locations, see the news release from the governor’s office.

For the latest forecast information on Tropical Storm Isaac, visit the National Hurricane Center at www.NHC.NOAA.gov.


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