News | Oct. 9, 2018

Hurricane Michael approaches Gulf Coast

By DCMA Public Affairs

As the Gulf Coast prepares for the next 2018 hurricane, Defense Contract Management Agency’s Mission Assurance office is encouraging team members to visit its Emergency Resources page for guidance.

Of particular importance is information on how to update emergency contact information through the mass notification system, which is used as the agency’s primary employee-communication channel during emergencies.

Neil Myers, the Mission Assurance lead, said that in addition to agency information, the site contains many helpful links that can help employees prepare and sustain:
—Visit’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.

Navy Vice Adm. David Lewis, DCMA director, recently signed an emergency evacuation guidance action memo (login required). Its goal is to clarify leadership’s responsibilities and authority to order evaluations to protect agency personnel, assets and mission.

Preparedness and knowledge are key as experts are predicting a high-volume hurricane season. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’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 five to nine could become hurricanes. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

According to NOAA, misconceptions can hinder preparedness levels and the serious with which people plan for the worst possibilities. Millions of people were affected by hurricanes last year. Their perceptions have been reset, but some don’t line up with reality. Here is a list of the most common misconceptions heard at the National Hurricane Center:

“I live outside of the cone, so I am safe from feeling the effects.”
The cone has nothing to do with impacts, only the average track error of the past five years. 2017’s Irma went up Florida’s west coast, but its wind field grew in size and pushed storm surge onto Florida’s east coast.

“It’s never flooded here before.”
It’s not easy to picture 60 inches of rain, but it was one of the biggest stories of Harvey. There’s no historical record of that amount, so it’s difficult to imagine what it will do.

“I got hit last year and it was a one hundred year storm, so I’m in good shape for the next one hundred years.”
All a hundred year storm means is that you have a one percent chance of it happening to you every single year. That’s the same as a 25 percent chance of flooding in a typical 30-year mortgage. You can get hit in back to back years or even in the same year.

“A very slight wiggle in the track doesn't matter.”
That could be true over the middle of the ocean, but not for land. Hurricane Irma proved that. Its wiggle of 30 miles along Florida southwest coast meant the difference between getting only a few feet of storm surge versus 9 feet.

“We went through a Cat 4 and nothing bad happened”
Many people in Key West will tell you Irma was a Cat 4 there. The reality is they only got Cat 1 winds. You had to go 20 to 30 miles away to find the Cat 4 winds. The reality is that you’ve got to understand exactly what you went through and that you may not have seen the strongest part of that storm.

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