District of Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams has proclaimed May 19 - 25, 2002, as Hurricane Awareness Week in the District of Columbia. In doing so, he joins President George W. Bush (who has proclaimed May 19 - 25, 2002, as National Hurricane Awareness Week") and the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) in urging citizens to educate themselves about the dangers of hurricanes and take steps to fully protect themselves from their effects.
In observance of Hurricane Awareness Week, the District of Columbia Emergency Management Agency (DCEMA) will donate a weather alert radio to each of the approximately 100 senior citizen facilities in the District of Columbia. This follows DCEMA's donation last year of a weather alert radio to each District of Columbia public school.
DCEMA Director Peter G. LaPorte said, "May is Older Americans Month so it is particularly appropriate that we donate weather alert radios to our senior citizen facilities in observance of this year's Hurricane Awareness Week, which also happens to take place in May. "Technological advances such as weather alert radios, combined with increased public awareness of the dangers of hurricanes and other severe weather and the measures to take to avoid their effect will help to save lives and prevent damage from these powerful forces of nature."
Weather alert radios receive digitally encoded weather, emergency and hazard alert messages transmitted from the National Oceanic and Aerospace Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service broadcast stations. NOAA has more than 425 stations in the 50 states and near adjacent coastal waters. Advanced technology allows NOAA to send digitally coded information for all types of hazards, including natural (earthquakes, storms and volcano activities) and technological (oil spills and chemical releases), targeted to a specific area.
The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30. Veteran hurricane forecaster William Gray is calling for an above-average number of storms this year. In April, Mr. Gray predicted 12 named storms, including seven hurricanes of which three are expected to be intense with steady winds faster than 110 mph. He will issue an updated forecast on May 31, one day before the start of the 2002 hurricane season.
For information about how to prepare for and respond to hurricanes and other severe weather, visit the DCEMA website, dcema.dc.gov and click on "15 major hazards", or contact DCEMA at (202) 727-6161.