Hurricane Earl Prompts Agencies To Bolster Online Resources

FEMA, the National Weather Service and other agencies are providing updates, advice and other disaster-management information on their websites.
Agencies that deal with disaster-management are preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Earl, as the U.S. braces for another storm season. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has updated the homepage of its website with a Hurricane Earl Response tab, which includes a link to the National Weather Service's" hurricane watches and warnings map. FEMA also has included a link to documents containing information about its Incident Management Assistance Teams, as well as posted videos and photos with information about storms.

One video shows FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate advising people to prepare now for Earl, and another shows raw video footage of forceful winds that demonstrate how damaging major storms can be. The National Weather Service also is gearing up for Earl. In addition to its watches and warnings map, the agency's National Hurricane Center site has the latest maps that show the projected path of Earl, as well as two other storms -- Tropical Storm Fiona and Tropical Depression Nine -- that are being tracked.

Earl's threat comes just a few days after the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, one of the deadliest and most costly storms in U.S. history. To honor the anniversary, NASA released a video retrospective that features satellite imagery and data collected by the agency during the storm.

Currently, forecasters are predicting Hurricane Earl to affect the East Coast of the U.S. somewhere between New England and North Carolina, though it is not actually expected to make landfall. Washington, D.C. sits in the center of the projected path.

If Washington is indeed hit by the storm, federal workers may face a situation in which the government's increasingly friendly policy toward teleworking will come into play. Teleworking has become a viable option for federal workers during bad weather and events that cause heavy traffic in the area near federal offices. For example, during President Obama's Nuclear Security Summit in April, federal workers were encouraged to telework to avoid a traffic snarl that was likely to occur if they tried to commute in to the high-security area. Teleworking also became a necessary scenario in February when a series of major snowstorms crippled the Washington area for four consecutive days, forcing the closure of federal offices.