Monday, March 29, 2010

Back at the National Hurricane Conference

Last year the National Hurricane Conference was in Austin, Texas. I think. I have been to so many it's hard to remember. The most memorable Conference (in retrospect) was in New Orleans in April, 2005. That was the last time that I saw the Big Easy before it was destroyed by Hurrcane Katrina five months later. Fortunately for me, the Conference this year returns once again to Orlando.

I spent the first day listening to presentations organized by New York City Officringse of Emergency Management and the New, New Jersey and Connecitcut Regional Catastrophic Planning Project. FEMA has been spending $35 million a year the last four years to support ten of these catastrophic planning inititives across the country. From 2007 to 2009 I worked on the Florida Catastrophic Planning project, which developed a plan to respond to a Category 5 hurricane striking south Florida. The detailed consequences document for this storm was almost 100 pages and made for grim reading.

As the representatives from New York City made clear, and I agree, the big advantage of these planning intitiatives is that it brings representatives from local, state and federal jurisdictions together in order to solve very tough problems. And New York City would face a very tough problem if it were struck by a Category 3 hurricane, as happened in 1938, when a lot fewer people lived there.