A weather-beaten pickup pulled up to a hurricane evacuation shelter Saturday with a family of four and their food and bedding. But David Hayes wasn't happy about being ordered to leave southern Baldwin County, on the east side of Mobile Bay, because of the threat of Hurricane Georges.
"I think it's kinda not worth the effort," said Hayes, 25, struggling with a big box of food for himself, his wife and their two young children. "I don't think it's going to hit us."But even though the hurricane was moving in the direction of New Orleans, that would put Alabama on the east side - "the wettest and windiest" side - of the storm, National Weather Service meteorologist David Eversole said.
That would be "the strong side, as far as wind and rain and potential tornado activity," said state Emergency Management director Lee Helms. "This is a very dangerous situation."
He said Georges could intensify into a much stronger system than Danny or Earl and be a "major hurricane by the time it makes landfall, and there's a major difference."
Hurricane Danny hit July 18, 1997, soaking the Alabama coast. Earl struck the Florida Panhandle Sept. 3 that year with 80 mph wind.
Alabama would get soaked again if Georges hits Louisiana as expected. And Eversole said coastal Dauphin Island could expect wind up to 75 mph, along with high seas.
Fort Morgan Fire Chief Bob McCarthy said officers were going door to door to alert everyone to evacuate. If anyone refuses to leave, he said, "We tell them to give us the name of their next-of-kin."