FEMA 2017 Hurricane Season After-Action Report

FEMA released a report summarizing the impact of the 2017 hurricane season. The 2017 hurricane season was particularly active and was in stark contrast to the high number of wildfires in California during the same time period. The report points out there were 17 named storms between April and November of 2017, 10 of which developed into hurricanes. FEMA’s after-action report focuses on three of those storms, as well as the response and early recovery process between August 25 and November 30, 2017.

The three storms of focus are:

  • Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall on August 25, 2017 in Texas. Harvey was a Category 4 storm and set a record for the most rainfall from a U.S. tropical cyclone.
  • Hurricane Irma, which developed into a Category 5 hurricane on September 6, 2017 as it passed north of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Irma was one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes on record.
  • Hurricane Maria, which made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, damaged critical infrastructure and left Puerto Rico residents without electricity for an extended period of time.

These three storms were devastating in different ways and resulted in critical lessons learned for the emergency preparedness and response community. The FEMA report discusses its preparation for, initial response to, and early recovery efforts for the three hurricanes. The report covers five focus areas, with associated key findings and recommendations. FEMA’s focus areas are scaling a response for complex incidents, staffing for complex incidents, sustained whole community logistics operations, responding during long-term infrastructure.

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