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article imageHurricane season starts without heads of FEMA or NOAA

By Karen Graham     Jun 3, 2017 in Environment
The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season officially started June 1. With the forecast for "above-normal" storm activity predicted, the two federal agencies most responsible for predicting weather and managing disasters face budget cuts and temporary bosses.
In a statement on May 25, NOAA announced: "For the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, forecasters predict a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season."
Acting FEMA Administrator Robert J. Fenton, Jr. advised states and families in areas prone to storm surge and flooding to "Get ready now" by having supplies and evacuation routes prepared ahead of time.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are still leaderless, run by temporary bosses. Nearly five months into his presidency, Donald Trump has still not appointed anyone to head up NOAA.
Commuters make their way through heavy rain in Jacksonville  Florida  on October 6  2016  ahead of h...
Commuters make their way through heavy rain in Jacksonville, Florida, on October 6, 2016, ahead of hurricane Matthew
Jewel Samad, AFP
FEMA is not doing much better, although Trump has nominated the former head of Alabama's emergency management agency, Brock Long, to the position. He should be confirmed as soon as next week, reports
As for the candidate to head NOAA, the Washington Post says the most likely contenders are: Scott Rayder, a senior adviser to the President of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and former NOAA chief of staff; Barry Lee Myers, the CEO of AccuWeather; and Jon White, President, and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
Regardless of whoever is confirmed to be the heads of the two agencies, they will not only have a tough job ahead of them if the hurricane season is as active as forecasters are predicting, but they will have to spend a lot of their time lobbying Congress for money because of Trump's proposed budget cuts to the two departments.
File photo shows hurricane Hermine that made landfall near St Marks  just south of Florida s capital...
File photo shows hurricane Hermine that made landfall near St Marks, just south of Florida's capital Tallahassee with 80 mile (130 kilometer) per hour winds.
Mark Wallheiser, Getty/AFP
The FEMA budget may be looking at an 11 percent cut in funds. But even so, John Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security — the department that oversees FEMA — told reporters “we’ll make do” when questioned about the cuts, NPR reports.
In case anyone has forgotten, the 2016 hurricane season was the most active since 2012, with 15 named storms, including 7 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes.
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