The federal government's top hurricane forecaster and Director of the National Hurricane center, Max Mayfield, came to Maryland's annual severe-storm awareness conference on April 17th to convince attendees to be vigilant this hurricane season. Hurricane forecaster William Gray of Colorado State University claims there is a 64% chance that a Category 3 or higher storm will hit the East Coast this year. The previous average was 31 percent.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is in the process of assigning disaster coordinators to 13 states, including Maryland. R. David Paulison, President Bush's nominee to lead FEMA, said, "We're going to lean further forward than ever before. Instead of waiting for [the storm] to come across, we're going to move into your state." He assured the audience that even with the agency's proactive efforts, "Response is still a local issue."
(The Baltimore Sun)