The Federal Emergency Management Agency said now is the time to prepare for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, which starts today.
FEMA officials hosted a news conference Wednesday as officials get ready for what is expected to be a busy hurricane season. Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasted that 14-21 named tropical systems would develop in the Atlantic basin this year.
Of the up to 21 tropical systems expected this year, NOAA projects 6-10 hurricanes with 3-6 major hurricanes. Hurricanes are tropical systems with sustained winds of at least 74 mph, while major hurricanes are storms with at least 111 mph.
Of the 2021’s seven hurricanes, four were major hurricanes, including Hurricane Ida, which made landfall as a Category 4 on Aug. 29.
Officials are reminding the public that a storm can have far-fetching impacts beyond just the point of landfall.
“Hurricane Ida spanned nine states, demonstrating that anyone can be in the direct path of a hurricane and in danger from the remnants of a storm system,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “It’s important for everyone to understand their risk and take proactive steps to get ready now by visiting Ready.gov and Listo.gov for preparedness tips, and by downloading the FEMA App to make sure you are receiving emergency alerts in real-time.”
Officials might not have to wait long to respond to their first tropical system of the year. A disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico is drawing the attention of forecasters.
"We're seeing a hurricane potentially, a tropical storm, developing already in the Atlantic. So it's incredibly important in using this day as an opportunity to help get that message out to people that the time is now to make sure you're taking the steps that you need to do to protect your family," Criswell said.
From 1980-2021, there have been 323 natural disasters that have cost the U.S. over $1 billion.
Although major hurricanes like Ida tend to be the costliest storms, even non-hurricane tropical systems like Tropical Storms Elsa and Fred can be costly. Both storms caused over $1 billion in damages last year.
Criswell said getting resources in place before storms strike is key to its response.
“We are going to be ready. FEMA is preparing, we prepare yearlong for hurricanes but any natural weather event. We are going to continue to lean forward and make sure that we are moving our resources and our people in place before a storm makes landfall," she said.