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    NOAA to Proceed with Hurricane Sandy Assessment

    By By Jillian MacMath, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
    November 30, 2012, 5:07:26 AM EST

    UPDATE:
    NOAA spokesperson Susan Buchanan issued a statement Thursday afternoon indicating NOAA will proceed with the hurricane Sandy assessment:

    NOAA will proceed with an assessment of National Weather Service products and services during Sandy as it often does after damaging or deadly weather events. The new assessment team will soon form and focus on reviewing the policies underlying weather watches and warnings, and storm surge-related products. The team’s report will identify best practices, provide recommendations for service improvements, and include a suggested implementation plan. The proposed assessment team includes representatives from across NOAA and other government agencies, including FEMA.


    US House 'Concerned' by Termination of Sandy Service Assessment Team

    Now weeks after the Hurricane Sandy Service Assessment Team was terminated by the National Weather Service, the U.S. House of Representatives is demanding a thorough explanation.

    "I am concerned by the termination of the Service Assessment team, especially with the uncertainty of what may or may not occur next," Representative Paul Broun, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight wrote last Tuesday in a letter to NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco.

    Since the termination, Susan Buchanan, spokeswoman for the NWS, has confirmed that, "If a broader federal assessment does not move forward, the NWS will conduct an assessment of the agency's performance as it routinely does."

    Buchanan and other members of the NWS were unable to provide AccuWeather.com with information as to who made the decision and if a timeline exists for the formation of another team.

    "It is imperative that NWS act quickly and decisively in performing an assessment," Broun wrote to Lubchenco.

    "With each passing day, the next Service Assessment team may experience increased challenges in collecting the information it needs for a comprehensive report," he added.

    The letter contained several questions to clarify the NWS's intent regarding a Service Assessment for Hurricane Sandy. Questions asked for reasoning in why the Sandy Service Team was terminated, when the decision will be made to proceed with a new assessment team, and if the new assessment team will maintain the same level of independence as the recently decommissioned team.

    Broun could not be reached for comment. His letter requested a response no later than Dec. 14, 2012.

    Mike Smith Senior Vice President of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, the only non-governmental member to ever be selected as co-chair on an assessment team, is in agreement with Broun.

    "I believe Rep. Broun's letter is appropriate under the circumstances. The assessment gets more difficult with each passing day. People move away, high water marks are destroyed as building takes place, and records can be lost," Smith said.

    "I do have a concern that there will not be an assessment given that an excellent team was assembled then stopped from doing its work," Smith added.

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