"FEMA proactively prepared for Sandy, overcame staffing and operational challenges, overcame staff management issues, used a variety of sourcing mechanisms, and effectively coordinated response activities," the DHS OIG concludes in a newly released report.
This year's Atlantic hurricane season is on pace to see fewer hurricanes than expected and fewer than a typical season. Twelve named storms, only two of which became hurricanes, have occurred so far. Neither hurricane reached Category 3, the point at which a storm is considered a major hurricane.
A rule proposed Federal Communications Commission would require wireless carriers to publicly disclose the percentage of their cell sites operational during and following a disaster. The commission hopes that by allowing consumers to compare wireless carrier performance it can encourage competition to improve network reliability, said the agency in a Sept. 26 announcement.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development delayed disbursing supplemental Hurricane Sandy relief payments because of insurance red tape, HUD Director Shaun Donovan told a Senate panel Sept. 18.
Sandia National Laboratories plans to design a microgrid for New Jersey's rail transit system, to make it more resilient in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, under an agreement that the Energy Department signed with New Jersey on Aug. 26. The microgrid, which would be the first for a transit system, would be designed to provide reliable power during storms for a system that serves as an evacuation route for Manhattan.
Hurricane Sandy damaged 110 of the Postal Service's delivery vehicles and prompted an update to the agency's emergency preparedness plans.
In its extensive strategy (.pdf), the task force recommends the federal government provide a forum for the coordination of large-scale, regional infrastructure projects, to map out their interdependencies. The government should also establish guidelines to ensure the projects are built to withstand disasters and future climate change, the strategy says.
Working in an area affected by a disaster means connectivity can be a challenge. Cells on wheels and light trucks only go so far to re-establish connectivity, said Karole Johns, program manager for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster assistance improvement program.
Through their DPA authority, agencies can require private companies to prioritize government contracts over their other obligations, for the sake of national security or emergency response. The law, originally enacted in 1950, is set to expire in December 2014.
Weather and climate disasters caused 2012 to be the costliest in the United States since hurricane-besotted 2005 and the second costliest since 1980, the National Climatic Data Center said earlier this month.