“The expected atmospheric and oceanic conditions during 2014 suggest a near- or below-normal Atlantic hurricane season,” explained Dr. Robert Atlas (NOAA) at the 2014 Pre-Season Hurricane Readiness Briefing held for Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz on May 27. The U.S. Representative for Florida’s 23rd congressional district has participated in this briefing for six years; this is the first time that AOML has hosted the event.
Other participants included Dr. Ed Rappaport of the National Hurricane Center, Col. William Beiswenger of the Florida Army National Guard, Miguel Ascarrunz Broward County’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Jonathan Lord Miami-Dade’s EOC, and Rob Levine of the American Red Cross. Dr. Rappaport explained to Wasserman Schultz that storm surge and rain, not wind, is the leading cause of death and damage due to hurricanes. Wasserman Schultz also learned about technological advances for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season, about the coastal counties’ preparations for the upcoming season. In addition, Col. Beiswenger explained that the Florida Army National Guard has roughly 9,000 soldiers and airman available to respond to disasters such as a destructive hurricane.
Following the briefing, the Congresswoman, Dr. Atlas and Dr. Rappaport spoke at a media event to summarize the information and to answer questions. Wasserman Schultz promoted the American Red Cross’s real-time application that is available to inform the public of breaking news and necessary information in the event of a hurricane or other disaster. “Even if the predictions forecast a mild hurricane season, it is up to you to be prepared for the worst,” the congresswoman urged. Armed with information about the upcoming season, she declared that she looks forward to this meeting every year and is astonished by and proud of the amazing work done regarding hurricane preparedness and research.