MEMA Prepares for Worst in Upcoming Hurricane Season - NECN

MEMA Prepares for Worst in Upcoming Hurricane Season



    MEMA prepares for worst in upcoming hurricane season

    Conference at Fort Devens was on emergency readiness for upcoming hurricane season; NECN's Matt Noyes spoke at event (Published Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014)

    (NECN: Scot Yount, Fort Devens, Mass.) -  Last year, there was a strong La Nina.

    "We considered that as a very plus factor as to why we had a large number of storms last year," said Bill Read of the National Hurricane Center.

    This year, the forecast is for us to transition possibly to even a full El Nino, which means fewer storms, especially in the Caribbean.

    Trade winds have been stronger as part of our mild winter, and sea temperatures right now in the Atlantic are much cooler than this time last year.

    "If those two factors continue to play out going into the season you would expect to see less storms," said Read.

    At Fort Devens, there was a conference of emergency readiness folks to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season.

    Organizers are hoping that these people are leaving and going back to their communities and are starting the dialogue about being ready for a major storm.

    "Preparedness has to include preparing the public, it is not just about public safety being ready," said Kurt Schwartz/ Undersecretary for Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

    And to help do that, MEMA is introducing an app that you can download and install on your smartphone.  Once you have it, then MEMA can send out specialized alerts to the entire state or they can narrow it down using geo location data to just a specific city block, whatever area is affected.

    "We'll have the ability to really to draw a box as small as a street, a neighborhood, or even statewide depending on the event so certainly it is going to take a little further into the 21st century," said Peter Judge, of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

    Beyond preparedness, the national weather service and the Hurricane center are constantly improving their models to better predict with more warning, the kinds of storms that cause widespread damage.

    "No two storms are alike, so as much as we work on the things we can work on,” said Read, “there is always more you feel you can do.”