Thursday, April 2, 2015

2015 National Hurricane Conference

As some of you may know, I have been in Austin, Texas attending the annual National Hurricane Conference.   Once again I was disappointed by the lack of participation from local governments (exception being Plaquemines & Mississippi Counties) sending folks to learn about any new efforts to solve the reality of the dangers of living along the coasts.  These are the agencies that have the responsibility to make the call for evacuations, yet feel they don’t need to send any representatives to this conference.  The Administrator of FEMA, Craig Fugate pointed out the real dangers regarding the lack of hurricane experience most Gulf & East Coast Governors have.   Term limits require these elected leaders move on meaning the person pulling the trigger rarely has previous experience dealing with evacuations.  In addition, the low pay for Emergency Managers usually means they choose to accept higher paying positions with private industry.  So truth be told, the public depends on folks with very limited knowledge of hurricanes making decisions that affect the lives of many.   I am uncomfortable with that, but I see nothing that will change the current system in the near term.


It was pointed out in several papers at the conference that the vast majority of people (89%) still depend on Television for weather information in a hurricane crisis.  The internet has supplanted radio as the # 2 source.   So I take my job very seriously as I know many depend on what I say, how I pass on the National Hurricane Center’s  information, and what I think about local National Weather Service office’s advisories & warnings.     No preseason predictions will be out until April 9th by Colorado State, however, Dr. Phil Klotzblach (Dr. Gray’s successor) said all signs point to a “below Normal/average” season.  Translation…look for them to say we’ll have between 6-9 named storms with 4-5 hurricane & one major hurricane.  Does that make you feel better?  It shouldn’t since some of the biggest Gulf landfalling storms (Betsy, Alicia, Andrew) happened during “quiet” seasons.  We’ll be ramping up education as we get closer to June 1st, but the same old question will be do I stay or do I leave?   The answer will depend whether you are willing to do personal responsibility (shutters, generator, supplies) or not.   I’m calling my friend Mandy in Monroe to let her know my Brenda is coming if a threat arises.   You should be thinking the same.  Stay tuned!

No comments: