Plus oil spill risks in the Gulf
NOAA is extending one of its hurricane forecasts for the upcoming season, new money is on its way to local governments saddled with Hurricane Ian cleanup costs, and a new report voices lingering concerns about the safety of oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s all in this week’s Disaster Management Digest.
Hurricane Forecasts: NOAA has announced a list of changes in the products and services it will offer for the upcoming Atlantic Hurricane season that begins on June 1. The first map that many of us look at is the “Tropical Weather Outlook” that shows the probability of a disturbance forming into a cyclone (tropical storm or hurricane). Beginning this summer, NOAA will provide more lead time, with the outlook extended from its current 5 days to 7 days, with both 2-day and 7-day formation probabilities provided (see sample map at right). NOAA this season is also making operational its Peak Storm Surge Forecast graphic that it has been providing experimentally since 2020. There will be no change in the “cone of uncertainty” map, also known as the tropical cyclone track forecast error cone. It will be about the same as compared to 2022.
Emergency Bridge Loans: The first award through Florida’s new Local Government Emergency Bridge Loan Program was made last week. Fort Myers Beach, which was devastated by Hurricane Ian last September, received a check for $11.9 million. The loan is designed to help support local government operations impacted hurricanes Ian or Nicole while they await federal relief or for their revenues to recover. The $50 million program was recently approved in the February special legislative session.
Gulf Oil Spill Risk: A new report by the National Academy of Science says that most of the offshore oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico has shown considerable improvement in systemic risk management in the 13 years since the Deepwater Horizons explosion and oil spill. The catastrophe on the BP oil rig killed 11 people and was the biggest oil spill in U.S. history at more than 130 million gallons. The report, Advancing Understanding of Offshore Oil and Gas Systemic Risk in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, outlines the current risks and the safety reforms put in place since the Macondo Well–Deepwater Horizon blowout in 2010. Despite good progress, there are troublesome safety issues that persist. They include the inability for federal safety inspectors to regulate contractors on oil rigs, having instead to go after a rig operator, and the lack of an industrywide safety culture integrated into daily rig work.
Hurricane Season Preparations: With 50 days left until the official start of hurricane season on June 1, we are happy to provide you once again with my Lisa’s Lucky 7 Hurricane Season Prep chart. It lists the 7 critical things we all need to do now to get ready for the storm season ahead. Please share this printable, fun flyer with your customers, colleagues, families, and friends to show you care. As we’ve bitterly learned with hurricanes Ian and Nicole, regret is often preventable.
Have a great week and please call or email us if we can help you navigate Bill Watch or you have other questions. Of course, you are always welcome to stay with us in our home and walk the halls of the Florida Capitol with us!
See you on the trail,