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FIU hosts congressional briefing on preparing communities for hurricane season

FIU hosts congressional briefing on preparing communities for hurricane season

Florida congressional offices and key stakeholders heard from FIU partners at the National Weather Service and Miami-Dade County Emergency Management as we start the 2021 hurricane season

June 1, 2021 at 12:00am

According to experts, we’re approaching an “above average” hurricane season. What does that mean and how does FIU best prepare our communities as we start this year’s hurricane season today, June 1?

On May 25, FIU in Washington, D.C. and FIU's Extreme Events Institute hosted a national briefing to explore these questions and hurricane predictions for 2021. More than 40 staffers from Florida congressional offices and local municipalities were in attendance. 

“There is a 60 percent chance for an above-average number of storms this season. Fourteen is the normal amount, and we’re anticipating 13-20 named storms in 2021,” said Robert Modella, Warning Coordination Meteorologist of the National Weather Service, who reviewed the forecast for the Atlantic region.

South Florida and coastal communities are no strangers to the effects of impactful decisions they are forced to make in the face of hurricanes and related storms.  

Maria Ilcheva from FIU's Jorge M. Pérez Metropolitan Center presented findings from a recent university poll focused on the hurricane effect and culture of preparedness.

“Environmental resilience is very much related to the economic resilience of our residents. The ability of our residents to take mitigation measures is not only related to their awareness and exposure but also related to their ability to do what they know they need to do but may not have the means to do it. There is a demand for funding and awareness on the programs that are available,” Ilcheva said.  

FIU has been a national leader when it comes to environmental resilience and hurricane preparedness research. In particular, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration collaborates with the Knight Foundation School of Computer Science and Information Sciences to improve storm surge modeling methods. This includes FIU’s one-of-a-kind Wall of Wind, designated by the National Science Foundation as a National Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) experimental facility.

So, what resources do communities have when it comes to preparing and planning for a major storm? The National Weather Service provides decision support for emergency managers and local officials across all areas that they serve. NWS also hosts daily weather briefings – webinars and emails – on the latest information regarding the storms. NWS provides a consistent level of messaging and important information to planners and residents that help protect communities

The Extreme Events Institute also has a 12-part video series dedicated to outreach and education. The Institute partnered with the Museum of Discovery and Science, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Division of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service to create the series that covers topics all related to hurricane science, mitigation, and preparedness. 

FIU experts and university partners are also available to discuss various issues surrounding hurricanes and their aftermath. For more information, email

FIU in Washington, D.C., is an integrated advocacy approach aimed at increasing FIU’s national reputation and federal support for FIU’s preeminent and emerging preeminent programs, faculty and students. The FIU in DC team collaborates with academic units to provide learning experiences and support the placement of students and alumni in internships and permanent employment.