Hurricane conference teaches lessons from last season

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HOUSTON - With the chill in the air, you might logically think hurricane season is a long way off.  Indeed as the satellite shows us, all is quiet in the Gulf and Caribbean.  However, June is less than 10 weeks away and it is time to start thinking about being prepared. 

This week I am participating in the National Hurricane Conference being held in New Orleans.  The conference serves as a kick-off for other state- and local-level hurricane planning meetings leading up to June 1.  The origin of this conference was the aftermath of Hurricane Camille.  Meteorologists and emergency managers at that time felt that having an annual meeting to review lessons learned from the previous season would better prepare them for the coming season.  The meeting has grown and evolved since then and now provides a full training program for both new and experienced professionals in the business of forecasting, preparing, responding and recovering from the inevitable next big storm.

The focus this year will be on Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy.  I suspect I'll learn a few new ideas from the work done by folks in Louisiana and in the Mid Atlantic region.  While Sandy was highly unusual and would not be a likely type of event for us in the Gulf, how people responded and what is being done to improve response the next time is certainly relevant.  Isaac, a slow-moving, large and messy storm to deal with, is just the kind of threat that can happen anywhere on the Gulf coast, so I'll be especially interested in sessions about this storms impact and the response in Louisiana. 

I'll let you know what I learn.

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