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Hurricane drill at Fort Sam readies military, government

Hurricane season projected to be active

According to the National Weather Service, Superstorm Sandy now ranks as the second costliest hurricane in United States history. 

For FEMA and other government entities, Sandy also marked a chance to hone their response efforts, after taking criticism in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

On Thursday, all branches of the military, along with state employees and emergency managers, met at Fort Sam Houston to further prepare for a projected busy hurricane season and to discuss lessons learned from Sandy.

"Every year as we do these exercises, we try to get more and more agencies involved and more people talking,” said Lt. Col. Michael “Todd” Grissom, an operations officer at the Defense Coordinating Element, Region VI, and organizer of the event.

The rehearsal has become an annual event since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. 

In Thursday’s drill, a scenario in which two hurricanes barrel towards the coast was played out, step by step. 

Organizing many different chains of command during a disaster, according to Grissom, is not always easy.

"Everyone comes with their own perspective and their own agenda to a certain extent, but what we do is keep in mind the main goal here,” said Grissom.

In the end, that goal is helping citizens and saving lives in the aftermath of a disaster.  Hurricane season begins June 1 and early forecasts from Dr. Gray of Colorado State University, call for an above average season.

"We expect a higher probability of a major hurricane making landfall in the U.S.,” said Joe Arellano, Meteorologist-in-Charge for the National Weather Service in New Braunfels.

For a list of recent stories Justin Horne has done, click here.


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