For many coastal residents of the U.S., 2021 brought a destructive hurricane season. Communities from Rhode Island to Florida and Louisiana endured power outages, halted transportation services and inaccessible civic and public resources—all during an intensifying wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In August, Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane—exactly 16 years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the state’s largest city. Ida destroyed entire buildings in Port Fourchon, a key Gulf of Mexico oil port responsible for 18% of the U.S.' oil supply. The storm also affected critical infrastructure such as wireless networks and power grids, despite being one of the best-predicted storms in U.S. history.
The role of real-time information in hurricane response
While extreme weather events don’t always unfold predictably, the people and organizations responsible for monitoring and responding to hurricanes can rely on real-time information to alert them to the impact of storms at the local level.
Products like Dataminr’s First Alert can cross-correlate official weather statements and sensor data with eyewitness accounts to provide a clear understanding of extreme weather events as they unfold. This can make the difference between a timely, coordinated emergency response and a delayed, misguided reaction to a potentially devastating event.
First Alert empowers first responders to remain informed of the impact of storms as they progress—be it over the course of hours, days or weeks. This enables teams to connect impacted communities to rescuers, local governments and their communities more broadly, during and after the storm.
You can also study seasonal analyses of the climate conditions that lead to storms—including sea surface temperatures and sea levels—to understand when storms are most likely to occur and how their severity should inform your response strategy.
5-step hurricane preparedness checklist
Here are five practical steps you can take to mitigate the impact of a hurricane on your organization and the communities you serve:
With the right information and a thoughtful, proactive response strategy, you can mitigate the impacts of even the most destructive storms. Leveraging real-time breaking news alerts will enable you to address infrastructure issues and local service disruptions quickly and more strategically while strengthening your search and rescue efforts.
To learn more about disaster planning, read Understand and Prepare for Extreme Weather Events, an ebook that describes why different kinds of extreme weather events require varied preparedness measures for public sector organizations.
Janie Gotherman is Senior Director, Public Sector Growth Marketing at Dataminr. Prior to joining Dataminr, she was Director of Government Marketing for LexisNexis.