NWS At Full Tilt: Supporting Operations for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria (347)
Katie LaBelle Edwards, National Weather Service, Silver Spring, MD
Jonathan Kurtz, National Weather Service
Gregory Heavener, National Weather Service
The tremendous impact of the historic 2017 hurricane season continues to be felt across communities from the Texas Gulf Coast across Florida and the southeastern United States, to Puerto Rico. Three Category 4 hurricanes made landfall in the United States - in the span of only one month. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, impacted millions of people, disrupting lives and significantly damaging critical infrastructure. Recovery is still ongoing, and will continue to be for years to come. Through it all, the dedicated employees of the National Weather Service (NWS) fulfilled their mission, providing local, regional, and national support to the public and partners they serve. With enhanced decision support services occurring from national, regional, and local levels, the NWS rallied its resources and deployed additional support staff from offices across the United States to assist in all these levels of operations. Through mid-October 2017, nearly 100 forecasters and support staff had been deployed, for various stretches, from their home office to support their colleagues in affected offices and state, local, and federal partners. This was an unprecedented response from the NWS, and many lessons and best practices were learned.