Tuscaloosa, AL – Governor Bob Riley has ordered the evacuation of areas in Mobile and Baldwin counties that are south of Interstate Ten. The governor says the areas are in imminent danger from Hurricane Ivan. The mandatory evacuation comes after Riley ordered people in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Fort Morgan and Dauphin Island to leave.
Mobile Mayor Mike Dow had already been telling residents to get out of town, or at least to higher ground. Dow says the difference between Hurricane Frederic that struck Mobile 25 years ago and Hurricane Ivan is that Frederic was a dry hurricane and Ivan is a wet one. He says low-lying areas must be avoided. Dow says he has moved his family out of Mobile, but he says he'll ride out the hurricane at the Emergency Management shelter.
Meanwhile, some emergency management workers are preparing for the worst. Clay Larrimore with the Clarke County E-M-A says they're expecting downed trees and power outages. Larrimore says shelters in Clarke County may begin opening tomorrow. He says they won't allow pets, alcohol, or weapons, and anyone who brings those items with them will be turned away. He also suggests anyone wanting to stay in a shelter should bring blankets, a pillow, medication and personal hygiene items. Emergency management officials in Conecuh, Escambia, Washington counties say they are expecting heavy rain and wind damage. Washington County also is expecting possible flooding.
Several south Alabama school systems have announced their closure plans. Washington, Clarke, Monroe and Covington counties will be closed tomorrow and Thursday. Some of the systems say they will make a decision concerning Friday based on how much damage, if any, is present once the storm blows through. Baldwin County schools were closed today. Escambia and Conecuh counties also were making plans to close their schools.