EAST COAST – SOUTH CAROLINA, NORTH CAROLINA, VIRGINIA - Prepare for Florence. Conditions are expected to be life threatening as Florence makes landfall as a major hurricane sometime between Thursday and Friday morning. The storm is currently a Category 3 tracking WNW at 13mph with a maximum sustained wind speed of 115 mph. As the storm moves into slightly warmer water an increase in wind velocity and precipitation can be expected, possibly enough to develop a Category 4. Isaac and Helene follow behind with less intimidating tracks. Isaac is headed toward the Caribbean Islands and should downgrade to a tropical storm as it passes by Puerto Rico. Helene remains innocent for the time being.
Image: National Hurricane Center – NOAA
FEMA Administrator Brock Long has warned that the US does not have a ‘culture of preparedness,’ even following the disastrous 2017 hurricane season. We know from the past season that FEMA did not have enough personnel to properly allocate human resources during Hurricane season. Houston received aid that was appropriate and standard based on FEMA mobilization and available personnel, Puerto Rico however, suffered as FEMA was stretched thin after Maria. Brock Long prepared a statement on June 1st that began, “preparedness is everyone’s responsibility, [as] a resilient nation requires a true culture of preparedness at all levels of government and the public and private sector.” Is the US ready for this year’s peak hurricane season?
Satellite Image of Hurricanes Florence, Isaac and Helene - Image: RAMMB/NOAA
HR 5895 – The Energy and Water Appropriations bill had a conference held last week on the 5th. Click here for a CRS report of issues in conference We are anticipating further movement before October 1st. It would be great to see a resolution passed this early in the year, demonstrating that congress is geared towards DOING, especially related to water resources. If water resources can’t get more funding, it is at least better to know where it is going sooner. We’re especially focused on this year’s Work Plan as the supplemental funding bill provided earlier in the year funds projects that may have hindered the progress of others by consuming available funding.
HR 6147 - DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ENVIRONMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS BILL, 2019 has had recent action. Currently conferees have been appointed. This appropriations bill provides funding for specific projects, a few of which we are particularly interested in as they relate to coastal resilience and environmental restoration of coastal regions. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Chesapeake Bay and the Everglades Restoration are three we are currently following. Click here to read the report.
Senator Tammy Baldwin urged Speaker Paul Ryan and the House to include a Permanent Buy America provision into WRDA18 to encourage our nation’s water infrastructure projects to rely on domestic steel. After lobbying from foreign steel manufacturers, Ryan stripped the provision from the previous WRDA. Senator Baldwin wrote to Trump, who agrees with her “100 percent.” We will wait on WRDA18.