Weather forecasters have thus far charted Tropical Storm Dennis on a path toward the Florida panhandle, but Texas coastal residents should nevertheless remain on guard, the Insurance Council of Texas warned. Dennis is not expected to make landfall until the weekend, but it is continuing to strengthen and poses a potential threat to the entire Gulf coast.
Tropical Storm Dennis is now the fourth named storm to form in what has been predicted to be an overly active hurricane season this year. Dennis also appears to be the most threatening.
“Four named storms in the first five weeks of the hurricane season has never happened since we’ve begun keeping records of hurricanes,” said Mark Hanna, an ICT spokesman. “We can’t emphasize enough how important it is for Texans living along the coast to keep track of this storm and have a plan to protect themselves and their property. Knowing what to do and knowing where to go long before any storm hits is essential for anyone living on the coast.”
The first named storm of the season, Tropical Storm Arlene, came ashore June 13 near Pensacola, Fla., producing 60 mile an hour winds and minor flooding. On June 29, Tropical Storm Bret fizzled back into a tropical depression before making landfall in Veracruz, Mexico.
Tropical Storm Cindy came ashore Wednesday covering Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama with 70 mile an hour winds and causing extensive flooding and power outages.
Forecasters say Dennis could reach hurricane-force winds of 110 miles an hour as it gains strength from the unusually warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The National Hurricane Center’s latest projected path has Dennis making landfall anywhere between Louisiana and Florida.
Once a hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico, Texans cannot purchase windstorm coverage. Residents must wait 30 days for a new flood insurance policy to take effect.
For more information on protecting your property, turn to ICT’s Web site and its brochure Storm Watch at http://www.insurancecouncil.org/images/StormBrochure.pdf.
Editor’s note: See related story in International News.
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