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Author: Jessica Stapf
As much of the country switched on their air conditioners and poured cool drinks in an attempt to battle stifling temperatures on Friday afternoon, parts of Louisiana braced themselves for a flooding event of epic proportions.While Louisianans are no strangers to flooding conditions, this round of flooding is unprecedented. Flood gauges across the state are hitting high levels with several areas not expecting to crest until later into the week.1As the situation has evolved, we've continued to work with our partners in the state. Four parishes (East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena and...
Posted On: August 15, 2016
Author: Daniel Paulette-Chapman
In my steady-state role as an analyst at Headquarters in DC, I analyze data to inform programs that can help citizens prepare for disasters. My field disaster title is Disaster Recovery Center Manager, where I manage the team that is responsible for assisting survivors by providing face-to-face customer service.Last month I gladly accepted my deployment to South Carolina to live the agency’s motto “every employee is an emergency manager,” so I replaced the suits and ties I normally wear with polo shirts and cargo pants and headed south.The day after I arrived in South...
Posted On: August 8, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
According to its website, the Angeles National Forest offers "natural environments, spectacular scenery, developed campgrounds and picnic areas, swimming, fishing, skiing, and the solitude of quiet wilderness areas." Not cited on that webpage, it also provides a scenic background for one of the most hustling and bustling cities in the country: Los Angeles, California.This weekend, this serene, picturesque forest became home to an incredibly active, dangerous blaze known as the Sand Fire. (For reference, fire names are often determined by their proximity to certain landmarks; this...
Posted On: July 25, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
Steamy. Searing. Sweltering. Hazy, hot and humid. In a word, it's summer. It's also disgustingly warm and frankly quite gross--especially when it's the kind of heat that coats your skin with an insufferable layer of moisture as soon as you step outside.This weekend, that kind of heat is going to blanket much of the country.Here are today’s forecasted high temps:And Saturday's:And Sunday's:When the National Weather Service talks about this kind of stifling heat, they use several words and terms that might cause some confusion: heat advisory, heat index, excessive heat...
Posted On: July 22, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
I’d been warned before meeting him that he might be intimidating. But, “intimidated” doesn’t even come close to describing what I felt when I first met him. “Petrified” gets a little closer, but even that might not even be strong enough to describe the anxiety and sheer terror I felt.  However, the more I got to know him, the more I grew to love him.He was my father-in-law. A police officer in south Florida, he was always full of surprises and stories.One of my favorite stories to tell is actually one he’s featured in. It’s simple, yet...
Posted On: July 21, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
Summertime has always been my favorite. When I was a bright-eyed kid still growing up in Upstate New York, summer meant so many great things. It meant spending my Saturday nights at the local racetrack. It meant cookouts and barbecues. It meant the coming of field hockey season and camping trips. And, best of all, it meant my birthday—my favorite day of the year—was coming. There were so many things to love about summertime up north.If you’ve never been (that’s a real shame to be perfectly honest), it looks almost like a Norman Rockwell painting. Serene, full of hope...
Posted On: June 27, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
Right now there’s a lot going on and it would seem that right now we’re even busier than normal. We’ve got our fingers on the pulse of several different things:First, we’re working to help firefighters out west battle several fires by issuing them fire management assistance grants. What are these grants? Great question. These grants do a multitude of things:So far this year we’ve issued 14 of these grants to states, helping to combat what has already been and may continue to be a very active wildfire season.Second, we’re keeping our eye on the oppressive...
Posted On: June 20, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
Note: We are live-blogging a drill (internally called #CascadiaRising) taking place across all levels of government. This post will be updated during the week with activities that are taking place in response to the drill.6:53PM Eastern Daylight Time, June 10, 2016:I lived and worked in Grays Harbor for about a decade, working for print newspapers. Today, I’m the digital media coordinator for the Washington Emergency Management Division, responsible for overseeing our social media team responding to the notional threats presented to us during Cascadia Rising.I took a break today to see...
Posted On: June 7, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
The name Topanga may be familiar to some who grew up in the 1990s and early 2000s thanks to a famous television show. For others, it may be familiar for a less nostalgic and much more personal way.This weekend, a fire ignited near a stretch of Old Topanga Canyon Road in Calabasas, California. Winding roads, steep hills, and vast expanses of trees mark the area, making it a perfect place for a fire to ignite. It sparked after a truck struck a utility pole, knocking it down like a fresh-cut pine tree. A transformer on the pole fell and started the blaze.1, 2As the flames stretched and scorched...
Posted On: June 6, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
It only takes one ticket to win the lottery. It only takes one second to tell a friend you made it home safe. It only takes one storm to change a community forever.We’ve seen it time and time again; instances of just one storm making a mark on a community. We know many of those storms and communities by name.Hurricane season is long. On the Atlantic side, it runs from June 1 through the end of November. Some seasons are more active than others; with multiple storms making landfall in one season. Some seasons don’t have any storms make landfall. Some, well, they only have one. And...
Posted On: June 1, 2016