President Biden met Monday with members of his homeland security and climate teams at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. to receive an update on preparations for the 2021 hurricane season.
In advance of the President’s visit, the Administration is announcing it will direct $1 billion for communities, states, and Tribal governments into pre-disaster mitigation resources to prepare for extreme weather events and other disasters, and the administration is announcing the development of next generation climate data systems at NASA to help understand and track how climate change is impacting communities.
In 2020, the U.S. experienced a record year for extreme weather, including an unprecedented 30 named storms in the Atlantic Basin. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is anticipating another above-normal hurricane season this year.
The costs of extreme weather events, in lives and economic damage, have been staggering. Last year alone, communities across the United States suffered through 22 separate weather and climate-related disasters with loses exceeding $1 billion each, shattering previous records, at a cumulative price tag of nearly $100 billion. This year has already wrought devastation, as unusual winter storms crossed Texas and the south.
On May 20, NOAA released its 2021 Atlantic hurricane season outlook. Forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. Additionally, forecasters expect a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms, of which six to 10 could became hurricanes.
As climate change threatens to bring more extreme events like increased floods, sea level rise, and intensifying droughts and wildfires, FEMA said in a statement that it is responsible to better prepare and support communities, families and businesses before disaster — not just after.
This includes investing in climate research to improve our understanding of these extreme weather events and our decision making on climate resilience, adaptation, and mitigation. It also means ensuring that communities have the resources they need to build resilience prior to these crises.
Biden has elevated the importance of climate resilience on the global stage and prioritized resilience in his investment agenda, including in the American Jobs Plan and the FY22 discretionary request.