Today, Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington) sent a letter to the National Weather Service requesting that they share their plan to prepare for the 2013 hurricane season while dealing with significant budget cuts. Concerns were raised on Monday during a meeting Rep. Israel hosted for first responders and community leaders in his congressional district on how overall budget cuts could impact forecasting resources available in New York specifically. These resources are used when predicting the path, severity, and impact of hurricanes and tropical storms.
Rep. Israel said, "As we approach the 2013 hurricane season, it is vital that our first responders have accurate and thorough forecasting so they can respond effectively to storms. On Monday, during a briefing with the National Weather Service and FEMA that I hosted for first responders and community leaders in my district, we learned how critical it is to have up-to-date information from the National Weather Service. I want a specific review of how overall budget cuts could impact New York communities and first responders. This information is critical to our preparedness and the safety of families across the region."
The briefing that Rep. Israel hosted brought together first responders and community leaders from his congressional district to offer feedback based on their experience with Superstorm Sandy and discuss hurricane preparedness with officials from FEMA. At the briefing, the National Weather Service also provided an assessment of what to expect in the 2013 hurricane season, which begins on June 1, 2013.
With current forecast predictions, an above-average number of storms are anticipated from the Atlantic this hurricane season, with the odds of the U.S. being hit by a major system at about 70 percent greater than predicted last year. Additionally, eighteen named storms will develop in 2013 according to an initial outlook. Nine of the systems are expected to become hurricanes, four of them major systems of Category 3 or higher with winds of at least 111 miles per hour.