By Thomas Perry
DCMA Public Affairs
The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season reflected the duality of the human experience. Mother Nature violently struck multiple U.S. and international communities causing loss of life, property damage and post-storm suffering for many survivors. However, that violence inspired humanity’s global community to volunteer time and money to combat the destructiveness.
Ryan Maichel, a Defense Contract Management Agency Boeing St. Louis quality assurance specialist, was one of many agency volunteers to support disaster relief efforts during the 2017 season.
“We provided time-critical surveillance — geotagging the latitude and longitude of bridges, roads, levees and properties underwater that may be threatened by flooding, debris hazards and oil spills,” said Maichel, who travelled to Texas with seven fellow Civil Air Patrol members to assist Hurricane Harvey victims. “I witnessed civilian pilots flying in from all over, pushing life-essential humanitarian supplies from their aircraft and into the backs of National Guard vehicles to be safely distributed to communities in need.”
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2017 was the seventh most active season in the historical record dating to 1851 and was the most active season since 2005. “The season produced 17 named storms of which 10 became hurricanes including six major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5).”
NOAA’s forecasters predict a 35 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal season for the upcoming hurricane season, which began June 1 and extends to Nov. 30. There is a 70-percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms, of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.
Accurate predictions play a key role in providing potential victims with an early warning for approaching storms.
“NOAA’s observational and modeling enhancements for the 2018 season put us on the path to deliver the world’s best regional and global weather models,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction. “These upgrades are key to improving hurricane track and intensity forecasts, allowing NOAA to deliver the best science and service to the nation.”
While ever-developing technology affords short-term preparation, DCMA experts want team members to utilize long-term planning to ensure preparedness and personal safety.
Andre Gross, the agency’s emergency manager, encouraged employees to use the free tools available to prepare or contact him directly with questions via email.
—Visit Ready.gov’s hurricane page to prepare for, respond to and mitigate upcoming storms.
—For additional facts regarding hurricanes, NOAA offers detailed scientific explanations including a short video.
—The American Red Cross offers a hurricane safety page with detailed prep and post storm tips.
Employees can also visit the agency's Emergency Resources page for more, including information on how to update emergency contact information through the DCMA Mass Notification System, the agency's primary employee communication channel during emergencies.
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