Unit II Essay
Discuss how the National Planning Frameworks core capabilities and guiding principles applied to the Hurricane Matthew response.
The National Hurricane Program (NHP) supports hurricane management through data, resources, and technical assistance. They enhance the evacuation planning and response time for the state, territorial, tribe, and other federal government partners. The NHP is a partnership of three major national bodies; the NOOA National Hurricane Center, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Su & Rose, 2017). In the occurrence event of a hurricane, specific response measures must be initiated, such as evacuation and response planning. Response planning covers crisis planning when hurricanes threaten the U.S. and deliberate steady-state planning comprising operational decision-making support. Besides their role in planning, NHP ensures the personnel responsible is ready to tackle the situation on the ground through; preparedness training, operational tools, and risk information to the handling managers to enhance their evacuation and rescue efforts through the most appropriate decisions (Su & Rose, 2017). In support of the National Preparedness Goals, NHP demonstrated its competency and planning during the response to Hurricane Matthew.
How did the federal government prepare in advance for the landfall of Hurricane Matthew under the National Response Framework (NRF)?
Hurricane Matthew remains the strongest tropical cyclone to affect the first coast of Florida since 1898. The late Season Category five Hurricane was the first to threaten the coastline of Florida after Wilma in 2005. The hurricane occurred in 2016. Even though the storm center did not cross the coastline, the western eyewall paralleled the Floridan coast (Pham et al., 2020). Most of the Eastern portions received category two winds. The storm resulted in three direct deaths, eleven indirect deaths, and a loss of up to $1.4billion in damages. Hurricane Matthew developed on September 28th from a tropical wave that was moving through the Lesser Antilles. The wave was favored by warm waters and low winds, which strengthened it. On September 29th, the storm graduated into a hurricane. On October 1st, it reached category five following a period of rapid deepening. Based on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, the hurricane attained a speed of 165mph off northern Colombia. Having weakened slightly, the hurricane moved northwards to the Caribbean Sea on October 3rd (Pham et al., 2020). However, the following day Hurricane Matthew intensified along with winds of 150mph. Initially, the hurricane affected Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas. Later on, it advanced to the coast of Florida.
On September 30th, the federal government demonstrated its preparedness by having consultations with the state government. Governor Rick Scott urged the citizens to be vigilant and follow all the instructions provided. The state’s Division of Emergency Management started the evacuation preparations for the people living along the coast. The governor initiated a response with Rick Knabb, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) Director, and all officials in the 67 counties. As a result, the NHC placed all counties in a state of national emergency in accordance with Executive Order 16-230 (Pham et al., 2020). As a result, the government allocated federal funds to the state government to start evacuation plans. The Florida National Guard was layed aside, and fuel tracks were placed along Florida Turnpike for quick deployment. On October 4th, more than 200 National Guardsmen were deployed.
How did communities apply the community approach to prepare and respond to Hurricane Matthew?
The community approach was applied from the institutional levels to the families and individuals. All the grade schools and universities along the coast initiated closure for October 6-9. Due to the increased risk, further 1,200 members of the Florida National Guard were deployed on October 4th and an additional 2,000 on 6th. The state government opened one hundred thirty shelters, with the American Red Cross opening another 97 shelters. All construction projects by the Florida Department of Transportation were placed on halt. Before the onset of gale-force winds, the community shut down all bridges along the Intracoastal Way with the government’s help. Tunnels and Tri-Rail suspended their services in the Miami metropolitan area till the passage of Hurricane Matthew (Wang et al., 2017). Community members supported the government’s efforts with all ceasing employment and movement unless for those working in the emergency management.
As the government worked hard to shut all transportation routes, the citizens and community members appreciated their efforts and supported all decisions made. Three international airports suspended their services; Orlando Stanford International Airport, North Perry Airport, and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. That led to the recision of hundreds of flights which the people understood had to be done. Even though Miami International Airport remained open, it also terminated 600 flights, with some being diverted to Tampa International. United States Army Corps of Engineers maximized the water discharges into Lake Okeechobee to prepare for the heavy rainfalls expected. More than 50 campgrounds and state parks were closed across the state, with community members urged to remain indoors unless otherwise. October 5th, the U.S. Coast Guard closed Port Canaveral (Wang et al., 2017). They ensured that Cape Canaveral was safe with all the rockets and spacecraft kept in closed positions to prevent vulnerabilities. With the help of community participation, Kennedy Space Center was prepared for occupancy and other buildings designed to withstand winds of 105-125mph, which were constructed after the category 5 Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
In your opinion, was the National Preparedness Goal achieved?
The National Preparedness Goal is to ensure a secure and resilient nation with all the capabilities required across the community level to prevent, protect against, respond to, mitigate, and recover from hazards and the threats that pose the most significant risk to the people (Garrett, 2019). According to the efforts demonstrated by NHP, FEMA, the state, and national governments, I believe the National Preparedness Goal was achieved. The safety of the majority of the citizens was upheld with efforts from all involved stakeholders. Even with the damages and destructions, the preparedness allowed for faster recovery and reconstruction.
Garrett, A. L. (2019). The Role of the Federal Government in Supporting Domestic Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Recovery. Current Treatment Options in Pediatrics, 5(3), 255-266.
Pham, E. O., Emrich, C. T., Li, Z., Mitchem, J., & Cutter, S. L. (2020). Evacuation departure timing during Hurricane Matthew. Weather, climate, and society, 12(2), 235-248.
Su, J. K., & Rose, C. E. (2017). Generation of Plausible Hurricane Tracks for Preparedness Exercises. MIT Lincoln Laboratory Lexington United States.
Wang, A., Issa, A., Bayleyegn, T., Noe, R. S., Mullarkey, C., Casani, J., … & Center, C. E. O. (2017). Notes from the field: mortality associated with Hurricane Matthew—United States, October 2016. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 66(5), 145.