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All it takes is one

Researchers at the University of Houston host a hurricane conference that discusses an active season, coastal protection and rapid recovery. Harris county judge Ed Emmett attended the gathering and he said it doesn’t matter how many hurricanes are predicted. All it takes is just one, and how we prepare and respond is what matters. Pat Hernandez has more.



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The conference at the UH Hilton was hosted by the University’s Texas Hurricane Center for Innovative Technology.  Dr. Cumaraswamy Vipulanandan is director:

It’s a mixed bag. We want to actually put the lessons learned in order, so that when we get the next one, we’ll be ready for it, and the theme of our center is Rapid Recovery, so we want to make sure we do a better job next time around.

The Texas Hurricane Center for Innovative Technology was formed two years ago. Dr Vipulanandan says the center has forcused on improving recovery protocols among the public and private sector:

Things are changing, and there are so many entities that have to be responsible. We want to know how it’s being coordinated, whether there is legislation in place or whether they do it with their experience or factors that we have to be updated on a more regular basis.

Ike became the 3rd costliest hurricane on record when it hit the area in 2008. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett lead the response:

It came up in a matter of four days and if people weren’t prepared, they were caught off guard. So conferences like this and the media attention they get are important, if for no other reason to remind people yes, we do in fact live in a hurricane prone zone.

He says a coordinated response was essential, but he admits he’s a little concerned about the new faces at government agencies like FEMA:

Any time you have a new administration, you have alot of the appointed officials who leave and go home, and they’re replaced by others, who may or may not have any expertise in this particular topic, and if they don’t know what was done wrong last time, they don’t know how to correct it, and that’s unfortunate and that’s why we all need to talk and that’s why conferences like this are so good.

We’re entering the peak months of hurricane sason, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has made slight adjustments on the number of named storms expected for this year. Judge Emmett says he pays no attention to the prognosticators:

I don’t care whether we have 25 storms overall in the season, or one storm. If we have one storm that hits us, then that’s what we need to be concerned about. Last year, we didn’t even have a storm come into the gulf at all, but we still would have been remiss had we not prepared. So get the kit ready, make sure you family, neighbors, everybody have plans on what to do if a storm comes our way, so that you’re not scrambling around at the last minute.

Pat Hernandez, KUHF News.

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