JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AP) — President Joe Biden warned Wednesday that the country will likely see “another tough hurricane season” this year, and he pledged that his administration was prepared to respond to the storms and help Americans recover from them.
“We know hurricanes are coming our way. They grow more extreme every season,” Biden said before a briefing from top federal officials, including Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge.
Biden urged Americans to “pay attention to hurricane warnings and follow the guidance of your local authorities.”
Before his remarks, Biden toured a hangar at Joint Base Andrews to view aircraft used to track and respond to hurricanes.
One of the planes is used to fly through and above the storms, capturing data that allow meteorologists to produce more accurate forecasts.
“It is really amazing what you all do to protect us,” Biden said.
Last year’s worst storm was Hurricane Ida, which resulted in $75 billion in damage and 55 deaths. Although the initial impact was in Louisiana, where the category four storm made landfall, it also caused heavy rain and flooding in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
Biden visited damaged neighborhoods in New Jersey and New York after Ida struck, warning that climate change has become “everybody’s crisis” and represents a “code red” danger.
“The threat is here. It is not getting any better,” Biden said then. “The question is can it get worse. We can stop it from getting worse.”
However, even though Biden has increased the country’s ambitions for slashing greenhouse gas emissions, he’s been unable to reach a consensus with Democrats in the Senate over how to tackle climate change.
This year, Colorado State, the University of Arizona and Accuweather are all forecasting a busier-than-average hurricane season.
Kenneth Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center, frequently points out that the United States has had more category 4 and 5 hurricanes make landfall from 2017 to 2021 than from 1963 to 2016.
This year, he recently told a Florida television station:: “It looks like we are going to be busy again.”
Associated Press writer Seth Borenstein contributed to this report.