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Remarks by Deputy Secretary Don Graves at the NOAA Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook Press Conference


Hello everyone! It’s great to be here with you. Thank you, Ben, for that introduction and your continued leadership.

Nearly all of us have witnessed the impact that weather can have on our communities. Some of us view weather events as a mere nuisance – extra rain that slows traffic or snow that forces us to adjust plans for the day. But I’ve seen, first-hand, the devastating impact that extreme weather can have on American lives and livelihoods. After Hurricane Katrina, I travelled to Louisiana to assist small businesses that had been impacted by the storm on their long road to recovery. What I experienced there made me realize how important it is to stay informed about the changing environment around us.

People associate 2020 with the year we experienced the worst global pandemic in over a century. But last year was also the most active Atlantic hurricane season in 170 years. It involved 30 named storms, including seven that each cost more than $1 billion dollars in damages. And they were among the 22 record-setting weather and climate events in 2020 that together cost the U.S. over $96 billion dollars.

From high winds to heavy rains, hurricanes can have a devastating impact on the safety of our families and the health of our economies. It’s imperative that we take steps to prepare ourselves ahead of the upcoming hurricane season. And that’s where NOAA comes in.

Their timely forecasts before storms help guide decisions around protecting life and property. And their survey work after a storm helps business return safely through our ports.

As Deputy Secretary of Commerce, I am so proud of the vital work the NOAA team performs every day. I have the utmost confidence in the expertise of our scientists and in the integrity of their forecasts ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­− because they’re grounded in facts and data. Their world-class research, cutting-edge technology, and standard of excellence are second to none. They help ensure that America is ready, responsive and resilient to natural disasters.

Today NOAA will issue its initial prediction for the number of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes for the upcoming season. I encourage everyone to take their guidance seriously and prepare accordingly.

Thank you all for joining us today, I’ll turn it back to Ben.