June 1 marks the beginning of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season. Although NOAA projects it to be a below normal season, it doesn’t mean coastal areas will have it easy. In the wake of a hurricane, Coast Survey plays a critical role in NOAA’s response efforts. But what about before the storm? In addition to building relationships and coordinating emergency response capabilities with agencies such as U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and port authorities, Coast Survey focuses on local community preparedness meetings and outreach events throughout the month of May.
Recently, Coast Survey’s navigation manager for the central Gulf Coast, in partnership with The National Weather Service Lake Charles and the Port of Morgan City, Louisiana, conducted public preparedness forums in Lafayette, Lake Charles, and Morgan City. One meeting featured U.S. Representative Charles W. Boustany, Jr., as the speaker. Approximately 90 people attended, including the congressman’s constituents, and local, state, and federal agencies and responders. The information provided was of vital interest given the upcoming start of hurricane season and the 10th anniversary of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
“As the 10th anniversary for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita approach, our coastal region is reminded of the need to be ever-ready for storms of every category,” said Joan Finley, district director for Rep. Boustany. “Our office appreciates the working relationship we have with NOAA, is reassured by the expertise of those working for NOAA, and is always available to provide assistance to ensure NOAA carries out its mission.”
Over on the southeast Atlantic coast, Coast Survey’s navigation response team 2 participated in the hurricane awareness tour when it stopped in St. Augustine, Florida. This outreach event provided Coast Survey the opportunity to communicate to the public, school children, and local dignitaries about its role in hurricane response.
During the outreach event, the navigation response team gave tours of the vessel and answered questions from the public. Students visited the booth, listened to a brief about Coast Survey, and received “honorary junior hydrographer” stickers to remind them of Coast Survey’s important mission.
Coast Survey’s navigation managers and response teams have spread awareness and helped communities prepare for the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season. At the start of the season, we may not know exactly when and where a hurricane will strike or how extensive the damage will be, but we are aware of the threat and are prepared to respond.