The FEMA Hurricane Liaison Team: Bridging the Communication Gap (because Great Minds Don't Always Think Alike)

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Monday, 18 January 2010: 4:15 PM
B312 (GWCC)
Matthew Green, FEMA, Miami, FL

Timely information on tropical systems threatening the United States and its territories is critical to the Federal, State and local emergency management community. The primary source for tropical cyclone forecast information and analysis is the National Hurricane Center (NHC). To provide emergency managers in the projected hurricane paths with mission critical information, the NHC requests support from FEMA to liaise between the NHC, FEMA, State and local agencies. The mission of the Hurricane Liaison Team (HLT) is to support hurricane response operations and decision making by local, State, and Federal officials through the rapid exchange of information between the NHC, the National Weather Service (NOAA/NWS) and the emergency management community.

The HLT is composed of Federal, State and local emergency managers, NWS meteorologists and hydrologists. HLT members are experienced professionals who are trained to operate in the NHC during a hurricane threat. As a national team, HLT members are activated directly by FEMA Headquarters. The NOAA/NWS supports the HLT through the use of NHC meteorologists, NWS Forecast Office meteorologists and hydrologists.

The HLT maintains open lines of communication among the NHC and appropriate Federal, State and local officials about the progress and threat level of the storm. The team establishes and facilitates video and/or teleconferences with the NHC, FEMA and other Federal agencies, State Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs), the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC), Storm Prediction Center (SPC), River Forecast Centers (RFCs).