Action Needed On Hurricane Forecasting
By Marco Rubio
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
May 16, 2016
Last Monday, I toured the National Hurricane Center to discuss preparedness efforts for the 2016 hurricane season, which will take place from June to November. It's important for all Floridians to take the necessary steps to prepare for any inclement weather that could confront our state this year. My Senate office stands ready to serve you in the event of a storm, and I'm also working to pass legislation to help the National Hurricane Center forecast and track storms more accurately.
While touring the facility, I saw how important it is that the Senate pass the "Hurricane Forecast Improvement Act of 2015," legislation I proposed along with Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., as part of a larger weather bill last year. It would ensure the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project will continue to work toward increased accuracy and reduce the devastation of hurricanes by limiting errors in tracking and intensity forecasts.
This legislation will help the National Hurricane Center continue to save lives as well as dollars. While it has been needlessly tied up by politics as usual, I nonetheless remain committed to finding a way forward and getting it passed this year.
As we continue our efforts in the Senate to improve hurricane forecasting, we must also remember how important it is to take the time at the start of each hurricane season to make sure our families, homes and businesses are prepared in the event of a storm. By taking a few simple steps, we can all stay safe.
First, I encourage you to learn the evacuation routes for your area so you'll be aware of the fastest and easiest way to get to safety. The routes can be viewed on the Florida Division of Emergency Management's website. Also, keep your automobile fully fueled, particularly if a storm seems imminent. Once electric power is cut off, gas stations may not be able to operate pumps for several days.
After meeting the dedicated meteorologists and hardworking experts at the National Hurricane Center last Monday, I know we are being served by individuals who put our personal safety above all else. Nonetheless, I hope my Senate colleagues will come together to pass the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Act that I proposed last year so we can give them all the tools they need to forecast effectively. If those of us in Congress and all of us as Floridians do our part, we can ensure a safe hurricane season this year.
Read the full op-ed here.