Today is the opening session of the National Hurricane Conference where meteorologists, and members of emergency management are gathered to share information and hone techniques for hurricane preparation and response. With freezing temperatures and the winds whipping through the streets here in New Orleans, members of the National Hurricane Center, Fema, local emergency management and media are filling warm hallways and meeting rooms discussing the lessons learned from last years storms and changes that are in store for prediction and response to this years season.
Yesterday I attended an all day pre conference training session titled Hurricane Readiness for Coastal Communities. Instruction by senior forecasters from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) was given in the use of products that will be new and improved this year, including improved storm surge forecasting. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) presented information on proposed evacuation time tables and methods to plan for various after the storm threats. Other concurrent training sessions involved classes for those responsible for inland communities and the use of special computer programs that aid emergency officials.
With today’s official kick off attendees will be welcomed by the director of the NHC, Rick Knabb and the administrator of FEMA, Craig Fugate. Afterwards several panel discussions will address the topics of what was learned from the experiences of hurricanesSandyand Isaacs. No doubt attendees will hear about new ideas from the folks that endured these storms and will bring home many good suggestions that could apply to their local communities.