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Friday, February 3, 2023

Interagency Officials Prepare for ‘Another Tough Hurricane Season’

Agency leaders discussed progress on disaster equity initiatives to help those affected by storms who may have limited access to resources.

With the start of the hurricane season looming on June 1, federal leaders said they are prepared for another active season as they attempt to better account for inequities ranging from risk to assistance and “systemic barriers” that have hampered emergency managers from building truly resilient communities.

NOAA’s National Hurricane Center is scheduled to announce its initial outlook for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season on May 24 at the New York City Emergency Management Department.

The active 2021 Atlantic hurricane season produced 21 named storms with winds of 39 mph or greater, including seven hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or greater. Four of these were major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or more. It was the first time on record that two consecutive hurricane seasons blew through the World Meteorological Organization’s list of 21 storm names, and the season was accurately predicted by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center to be above average in their May and August outlooks.

Interagency Officials Prepare for 'Another Tough Hurricane Season' Homeland Security Today

“The FEMA workforce understands the demands of hurricane season and stands ready to provide full response capabilities,” Administrator Deanne Criswell tweeted Wednesday. “We are prepared with these resources and teams: 4 National & 13 Regional IMAT teams, 13,800 surge capacity force members, 825 generators, 26M+ liters of water.”

President Biden met Wednesday with federal emergency preparedness and response leaders to get briefed on the Atlantic hurricane season and to discuss progress on disaster equity initiatives to help those affected by storms who may have limited access to resources.

The briefing included Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell, Administrator of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Richard Spinrad, Director of the National Hurricane Center Kenneth Graham, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marica Fudge, Small Business Administrator Isabella Guzman, U.S. Coast Guard Vice Commandant Admiral Linda Fagan, and Homeland Security Advisor Dr. Liz Sherwood-Randall.The White House said that Biden “was briefed on the projected hurricane activity for the upcoming season and how lessons learned from past years have improved accuracy in analysis and forecasting,” and then discussed preparedness and response initiatives with underserved communities undertaken by FEMA, the Small Business Administration, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.“The President also met with the brave men and women who fly into hurricanes and perform high-risk missions to provide early warning and real time analysis of severe storms in order to save American lives,” the White House said. “He toured the aircraft with specialized technologies that are used to predict hurricane tracks and spoke with U.S. Coast Guard members who conduct search and rescue missions during hurricanes and other extreme weather events.”

Before the briefing, Biden told reporters that he was going “to get a read on what’s going to happen, what the hurricane season this year is going to look like — but we’re prepared for the upcoming hurricane season.”

“My message to all Americans is straightforward: We know hurricanes are coming our way. They grow more extreme every season thus far,” he added. “Pay attention to the hurricane warnings. And follow the guidance of your local authorities.”

Biden said that “given the climate crisis, it’s likely to — we expect another tough hurricane season.”

“And storms are going to be more intense, and we’re going to have shorter notice, as we saw last year with Hurricane Ida,” he said.

Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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