The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on Saturday, June 1st, and already the season’s first named storm has formed. Subtropical Storm Andrea developed near Bermuda, and one report from CNN indicates the United States could experience between four–to–eight hurricanes this year.
The country has faced devastating hurricane seasons in the past several years, and although experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration claim the 2019 season will most likely be closer to a “normal” season, commanders of National Guard units are already working to improve readiness.
“These are catastrophic weather events that we take very seriously,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Burkett, vice director of domestic operations at the National Guard Bureau (NGB), in a press release. “We stand ready to respond if so called.”
In New York, for example, Guard leaders and their civilian partners recently met to discuss the best way to deploy forces quickly and appropriately. The group ran tabletop response drills with a focus on “information sharing” and “information exchange” between all relevant parties. In addition to hurricane readiness, National Guard commanders discussed the best way to respond to Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) incidents, according to a press release. National Guard units in West Virginia recently ran similar CBRN drills with civilian partners as well, but at the NGB in Washington, hurricane preparedness is taking center stage.