Ahead of what is forecast to be an above-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin, the U.S. government is doubling funding to prepare communities for such storms or other extreme weather events.
“We have to be ready when disaster strikes,” President Joe Biden said on a visit to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters Monday afternoon.
“Today’s briefing is a critical reminder that we don’t have a moment to lose in preparing for 2021,” the president said at FEMA, just prior to being briefed on this year’s hurricane season.
Biden also noted the risks from wildfires in California and other Western states.
“I’m here today to make it clear that I want nothing less than readiness for all these challenges,” the president said.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a 60% chance of an above-normal Atlantic storm season with six to 10 likely hurricanes.
Last year was a record hurricane season in the United States with 30 named storms — five of those making landfall just in the state of Louisiana.
In all, according to government officials, 22 separate weather and climate-related disasters caused nearly $100 billion worth of damage.
“FEMA will provide $1 billion in 2021 for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program, a portion of which will be targeted to disadvantaged communities,” according to the White House statement announcing the funding.
Earlier in the day, the White House also announced the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is to collect more sophisticated climate data as part of a new mission concept for an Earth system observatory.
“NASA’s Earth system observatory will be a new architecture of advanced spaceborne Earth observation systems, providing the world with an unprecedented understanding of the critical interactions between Earth’s atmosphere, land, ocean and ice processes. These processes determine how the changing climate will play out at regional and local levels, on near and long-term time scales,” the White House statement said.
Biden last week ordered federal agencies to identify and disclose hazards from climate change. The executive order also requires suppliers to the federal government to reveal their own risks associated with climate change.