U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


  1. Home
  2. News
  3. Speeches

Was this page helpful?

Remarks by U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the NOAA Hurricane Awareness Tour


Thank you, Lori, for that kind introduction.

And thank you, NOAA Administrator Dr. Rick Spinrad and National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham for inviting me to join you today.

I’d also like to welcome our interagency colleagues from the Air Force as well as FEMA Deputy Associate Administrator David Bibo. Their presence today proves that predicting, preparing for, and responding to hurricanes truly takes a whole-of-government approach.

This is third day of National Hurricane Preparedness Week, and the first stop of the 2022 Hurricane Awareness Tour. I’m thrilled we’re able to hold this event in person for the first time in over two years.

The Commerce Department is fully committed and supportive of NOAA’s mission to study, forecast, and issue watches, warnings, and other decision support for tropical systems in both the Atlantic and Pacific Basins.

Severe weather events, especially hurricanes, have a significant economic impact on our country and around the world.

Four of the 20 weather and climate related billion-dollar disasters that impacted our country in 2021 were directly caused by hurricane impacts.

In fact, last year’s Atlantic hurricane season produced 21 named storms, including seven hurricanes, and four major hurricanes.

It was the third most active year on record in terms of named storms; the sixth consecutive above-normal Atlantic hurricane season; and the first time on record that two consecutive hurricane seasons exhausted the list of 21 storm names.

The NOAA and Air Force scientists, pilots, and support staff with us today are the heroes that brave these storms to gather mission critical observations that feed directly into NOAA’s models, forecasts, products, and services.

These services are then relayed to our partners at FEMA as well as state, territory, Tribal, and local emergency managers, who use this information to make decisions on evacuations and pre-positioning of resources, saving money, time, and ultimately protecting life and property.

It’s no mistake that NOAA and the National Weather Service find their home in the Commerce Department.

As the nation gears up for another hurricane season, it’s important that all Americans living in the potential paths of these storms, even well inland of the coast, follow NOAA’s guidance for preparation. Determine your risk, develop an evacuation plan, and assemble the disaster supplies that you may need if a disaster strikes.

We also know that we need to address the climate crisis. It’s a top priority for the Commerce Department, as well as the entire Biden Administration.

In the 1980s, billion-dollar climate disasters occurred in the U.S. an average of every 82 days. Today, that number is just 18 days. We cannot afford to sit on our hands any longer.

Just last month, Secretary Raimondo signed a new order that directs the department to prioritize climate considerations in all of our work.

And with NOAA leading the way, the Commerce Department has been using every tool at our disposal to address this crisis and related economic impacts.

Again, I want to thank NOAA and our inter-agency partners for their work to help prepare American families and businesses as we approach the 2022 hurricane season. Your efforts are saving lives and property every year.

With that, let me turn it over to Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator Dr. Rick Spinrad.