Monday, October 3, 2022

Does Any of This Look Familiar?

In the wake of 2012's Hurricane Sandy:

And, ten years later in the wake of 2022's Hurricane Ian. Any of this look familiar?

In the ten years since Hurricane Sandy, the United States' National Weather Service has seriously regressed (see: here, here, here, here, here, and those are just a small number of the too numerous examples). Yet, the usual suspects rushed to defend these increasingly unacceptable performances by the National Weather Service. Science is not supposed to go backward!

For reasons only political insiders can explain, NOAA has not had a weather-oriented leader in 50 years. FEMA often seems more interested in public relations than its mission of providing critical assistance in catastrophic disasters. 

Since December, 2012, about six weeks after Hurricane Sandy, I have been proposing a National Disaster Review Board. Expert, independent oversight of NOAA/NWS, FEMA, Red Cross, local and state emergency management is the only way that we will see these problems repaired. 

My vision for the National Disaster Review Board includes the following:
  • It would be modeled after the hugely successful National Transportation Safety Board. 
  • The members and staff would be subject matter experts rather than political generalists.
  • The Board would be located away from Washington to help insulate it from politics. 
  • It would, by law, be forbidden to get into climate change. We have the IPCC and USCA for that purpose. 
  • The Board would have subpoena power but, like the NTSB, would be a recommendation agency rather than an enforcement agency. 
  • It would keep independent statistics as to the accuracy of NWS storm warnings. 
Dr. Cliff Mass, professor of meteorology at the University of Washington, says that this will be fixed only with the active intervention by Congress. I completely agree. Congress needs to conduct hearings and move as quickly as possible on this issue. 

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