FEMA: Don’t underestimate Isaac
By ELIZABETH VLOCK
Talk Radio News Service
WASHINGTON – With the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, already canceling events in preparation for Tropical Storm Isaac, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) held a conference call Monday to discuss necessary safety preparations to take before the storm hits.
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and National Hurricane Center (NHC) Director Dr. Rick Knabb issued an advisory to not dismiss Isaac due to its current classification as a tropical storm.
FEMA warned that even with the downgrading of Isaac from a hurricane to a tropical storm individuals should still treat the extreme weather as a serious threat. Fugate explained that he wants “to caution people that even though the storm has not reached hurricane strength it is potentially, because it is such a large storm, going to have effects well away from the center of circulation.”
Knob also cautioned that the NHC is “forecasting [Isaac] to become a hurricane, and it certainly concerns [him] that people don’t take it seriously because right now they see it as a tropical storm and may not believe that it is going to strengthen.”
According to the NHC a tropical storm has wind speeds ranging from 39 to 73 miles per hour which are capable of doing extreme damage to property and can create life-threatening conditions.
Much of the concern stems from the uncertain path that Isaac has currently taken. Fugate also advised that individuals not “focus necessarily where [Isaac] may come in [since] this is a very large area of impact.”
With the storm’s path headed towards Louisiana, where Governor Bobby Jindal has already declared a state of emergency, comparisons to FEMA’s failure to adequately prepare Hurricane Katrina in 2005 were drawn. Fugate explained the biggest lesson FEMA has “learned is that we have to work together as a team at the state, local, and federal level.”
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