The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has become so active that the National Hurricane Center may run out of alphabet letters before it can name all the remaining storms.
In its regular midseason update earlier this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) upgraded its hurricane forecast to between 19 and 25 named storms, of which seven to 11 will become hurricanes – including three to six major (i.e., Category 3, 4, or 5) hurricanes. NOAA said an average season produces 12 named storms, including six hurricanes – of which three become major hurricanes.
Confirming the trend, Colorado State University’s 2020 forecast also was revised upward in early August, both in the number and the severity of this year’s expected hurricane-strength storms.
“This is one of the most active seasonal forecasts that NOAA has produced in its 22-year history of hurricane outlooks,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, who oversees NOAA.
The more severe weather patterns are ominous news for the nation’s population centers, critical infrastructures and supply chains. And in the midst of the worst global pandemic in a century, coupled with unprecedented levels of civil unrest, they drive home once again the fundamental necessity of an all-hazards approach to security risk management.
One capability state emergency management and first responder agencies have increasingly relied on in recent years is continuous real-time awareness of the areas most affected by storms and other naturally occurring hazards, combined with a detailed picture of the material and personnel resources they have at their disposal during the response phase and efficient damage reporting to help people more quickly recover after a disaster.
Haystax provides these agencies – plus school districts, private enterprises and other organizations – with precisely this kind of all-hazard domain awareness and continuous analytics-based updating during a disaster, regardless of whether their personnel and commanders are based in an ops center or out in the field.
Among the states where we help security decision-makers to better prepare for, respond to and recover from any kind of threat or hazard are:
- California, where our Cal COP platform links eight urban areas into a single ecosystem for information sharing and domain awareness around terrorist threats, wildfires, earthquakes, major events and much more.
- Florida, where since 2014 Haystax has helped protect 2.5 million students and 6,000-plus public and charter schools, not just from man-made threats but from several major hurricanes, during which the schools are used as designated shelters for displaced populations.
- Texas, where our system for years has provided all-hazard critical infrastructure protection and threat awareness in metropolitan regions such as Houston and Dallas, and has recently been deployed in the Houston region in support of a multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency coronavirus pandemic response.
Our pioneering all-hazards approach to risk management is what sets Haystax apart. Among the capabilities of our platform are detailed catalogs of critical assets such as commercial facilities, transport infrastructure, schools and even residences. First responders can instantly access crucial data for each asset in the system, including addresses, site maps, floor plans and photos and phone numbers for key contacts.
Additionally, field reporting via Haystax’s mobile apps can provide everything from real-time incident and status reports to comprehensive post-event damage assessments for any physical asset, all of it precisely geo-tagged, categorized and annotated for easy aggregation into after-action and reimbursement reports during the recovery phase.
Moreover, the mobile apps can transmit continuously updated device information, enabling commanders to know the exact locations of their deployed personnel. And although Haystax is deployed in the cloud, its mobile apps function even when offline.
Haystax also enables our users to monitor digital media and other third-party data for enhanced local and regional awareness during weather events. Such information can include:
- News-media and police reports from affected areas
- Real-time weather bulletins
- Traffic jam alerts along evacuation routes
- Reports of looting and other storm-related crimes
The combined data from these apps is depicted visually in our map app so that commanders can make faster and more fully-informed decisions — either across broad geographic areas (see image below of recent Hurricane Isaias activity in the Haystax map app) or zoomed into a single city block. That’s contextual awareness at its best.
Hundreds of dedicated public safety personnel in the southeastern and northeastern U.S. will work long hours responding any storm that develops during the remainder of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through November 30. Meanwhile in California they are battling a spate of wildfires. And in the Midwest and elsewhere they have already responded to 100- and even 500-year floods. All in the midst of a pandemic.
Fortunately, it’s possible to ease their response and recovery burdens by empowering state and local agencies with continuous, comprehensive, contextual awareness of their physical environments and of the dynamic hazards that threaten their populations, infrastructures and supply chains.
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Note: Want to learn more about how Haystax solutions are deployed during extreme emergencies? Visit the Emergency Management page on our website to download a fact sheet or request a demo.