WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Ranking Member on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today said the nation must find new ways to minimize hurricane damage and improve prediction and response capabilities. She spoke during a Commerce Committee hearing on the need for a national hurricane initiative to help communities to better weather storms and recover more quickly.
“As Texas and other southeastern states brace for the potential fury of the current 2009 hurricane season, this subject is both timely and relevant,” said Senator Hutchison. “Storms like Ike and Katrina exposed how vulnerable the U.S. remains to natural disasters. As our coastal populations and urban centers continue to grow, our nation must find new and improved ways to minimize hurricane damage and fortify our prediction and response capabilities.”
Senator Hutchison noted that hurricanes account for billions of dollars of economic loss, with an average of more than $35 billion annually in the last five years alone because of individual storms like Hurricanes Katrina, Ike, Wilma, Charley, and Rita. She said that Hurricane Ike alone caused $24 billion in damage and resulted in the loss of 112 lives and that many parts of Texas are still recovering from this devastating storm.
In December 2005, the National Science Board convened a task force to examine the state of hurricane science and research in the United States. It found that our nation must do more to improve forecasting, model intensity and impacts, and enhance protection of the manmade environment while refining response and evacuation strategies. But achieving these goals will require additional investment in advanced super-computing capabilities.
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You can watch Senator Hutchison’s remarks here.