President Obama paid a visit to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, this morning, to observe how the agency works and to speak with officials in the days leading up to the beginning of Atlantic hurricane season on June 1. While there, he helped the agency issue a forecast for Tropical Storm Andres.
During his visit, he toured the agency’s facilities and held a briefing with several officials, including FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, to raise awareness about the need to prepare even in the face of what’s forecast to be a hurricane season with a below-normal number of storms. He also emphasized that the direct efforts of federal agencies like FEMA and NOAA are shining examples of the excellent, hands-on work that the government can do for the people of this country.
The Sun Sentinel quoted Obama as saying “’Sometimes, we spend a lot of time griping about government bureaucrats,’ he said. ‘Suddenly disaster strikes and we realize how much we … depend on these folks.’” He has a point—the list of politicians who slam the federal government and then demand their help after a disaster is longer than the April issue of Storm Data.
Obama visited the agency at just the right time, as forecasters were issuing an advisory on newly-formed Tropical Storm Andres out in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The storm is expected to become a hurricane as it moves far away from land, posing no threat to anyone but some fish and ships. The president observed one of the forecasters as he wrote the forecast discussion for the storm, and according to the NHC, he “reviewed, signed, and transmitted the Tropical Cyclone Discussion upgrading Tropical Depression One-E to Tropical Storm Andres.”
He signed a printed copy of the forecast, and his signature also appears at the bottom of the forecast where the forecaster typically signs his or her name.
[Images: Associated Press, National Hurricane Center]