Contact: John Leslie, NOAA
(301) 713-0622
Cindy Taylor, FEMA
(202) 646-4117

NOAA 01-059
May 22, 2001


President George W. Bush has signed a proclamation today declaring the week of May 20-26 "Hurricane Awareness Week." He has made this first ever presidential proclamation in support of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) efforts to provide early and accurate warnings that will help keep people safe and property damage to a minimum during the 2001 hurricane season.

"As NOAA prepares for another hurricane season we are very grateful for President Bush's support in safeguarding our nation," said NOAA Acting Administrator Scott Gudes. "Though we expect this to be a season of normal weather patterns and anticipate fewer storms this year, we can't predict which communities may experience the awesome power of a hurricane this season. Accordingly residents in all hurricane prone areas should be ready to act."

NOAA's 2001 Hurricane Season Outlook calls for what is considered an average season, bringing between eight and 11 tropical storms, of which five to seven reach hurricane strength, with two to three classified as major.

Hurricane Awareness Week is a nationwide campaign led by NOAA, an agency of the Department of Commerce (DOC), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and storm-vulnerable East and Gulf Coast states to increase preparedness and safety among residents.

"The importance that President Bush has placed on reducing the loss of life and property from hurricanes is shared by FEMA and NOAA alike," said FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh. "With an ever-growing population living in vulnerable coastal areas, our charge this hurricane season is clear. FEMA stands ready to provide both the leadership and the necessary technical assistance and guidance to communities as they assume responsibility for becoming more disaster resistant."

Hurricane Awareness Week features a web site that highlights five severe weather safety topics - one for each day of the week. It can be found on the World Wide Web at: In addition, tips and information on protecting your home and family from disasters can be found on FEMA's web site at


Office of the Press Secretary

  For Immediate Release
May 22, 2001

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One of the most dramatic, damaging, and potentially deadly weather events is a hurricane. Each year on average, six hurricanes develop over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or Gulf of Mexico. Many of these remain over the ocean with little or no impact on the continental United States. Unfortunately, though, on average five hurricanes strike the United States coastline every 3 years. These storms can cause significant damage that can cost individuals, businesses, and government billions of dollars. Worst of all, however, is the loss that can never be recovered: human life.

Currently more than 48 million people live along hurricane-prone coastlines in the United States. The growing number of residents living in these areas, as well as the millions of tourists who visit our Nation's beaches annually, has increased the difficulties in evacuating people from areas that are threatened by an impending hurricane. This problem is further compounded by the fact that a large majority of people living in these areas have never experienced the force of a major hurricane and its devastating impact.

Increasingly, many Americans have begun working to ensure that commonsense measures are implemented to protect themselves and their property from natural disasters including floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes. Their foresight, hard work, and respect for the awesome power of nature often yields great benefits for their communities. They are to be commended for this preventive work, and we should learn from their example as we plan for future disasters.

All Americans must be more vigilant about preparing for disasters in advance, rather than just responding to them after they occur. Specific actions can be taken in advance of a storm that will further protect property, help to ensure that businesses are able to resume work quickly after a storm, and ultimately save lives. In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that for every dollar spent in damage prevention, two are saved in repairs.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) researchers and forecasters continue to improve the accuracy of hurricane warnings that enable residents to evacuate and emergency personnel to effectively respond well in advance of the storm's arrival. In addition, FEMA and NOAA have focused their resources toward encouraging community leaders to work with Federal, State, and local agencies, as well as volunteer agencies, schools, the private sector, and the news media to collectively undertake activities that diminish the destruction of natural disasters. For hurricane-prone areas, these measures can include residents stockpiling emergency provisions, learning evacuation routes, installing hurricane shutters, building residential safe rooms and community shelters, adopting stronger building codes, and retrofitting existing buildings. These measures have proved effective, and I encourage citizens living in these areas to look for ways that they can better prepare themselves and their communities to reduce the potential devastating impact of these storms.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 20 through May 26, 2001, as National Hurricane Awareness Week. I call upon government agencies, private organizations, schools, news media, and residents in hurricane-prone areas to work towards the prevention of needless storm damage and to join me in raising awareness of the hazards posed by hurricanes.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-second day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-fifth.