President Donald Trump is promising a quick federal response to hurricanes, as U.S. weather forecasters are predicting a high number of storms this season.
Trump told Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials Friday that his administration would respond rapidly with funding in the event of an emergency during the hurricane season.
"We do it quickly. We do it effectively," Trump said during a visit to FEMA headquarters in Washington for a briefing on how the agency has prepared for the hurricane season.
The season in the Atlantic region runs from June 1 to November 30, with storm activity spiking from late August through September. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the Atlantic could see an "above normal" hurricane season this year. NOAA predicts the development this season of two to four major hurricanes with sustained winds of at least 178 kilometers per hour.
Colorado State University forecasters said in a report Friday that the potential for more storms translated into a 62 percent chance of a major hurricane hitting the Atlantic coastline. They said that was higher than the 20th-century average of 52 percent.
They predicted three major hurricanes and a total of 16 named storms this season.
Forecasters say the lack of an El Nino weather system this year in the Pacific combined with abnormally warm waters in the Atlantic will most likely give storms more time to develop and strengthen.
There already have been five tropical storms in the Atlantic this season, including Tropical Storm Emily, which dumped heavy rain on parts of Florida this week. The other storms did not affect land.
The National Hurricane Center said that in a typical year, there are usually not five storms until August 31.
Vice President Mike Pence, newly installed White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and several other administration officials attended the briefing at FEMA, which is responsible for coordinating responses to disasters such as hurricanes. Governors from states with a high risk of exposure to hurricanes also attended the briefing via teleconference.
"Incidents begin and end locally, and FEMA's role is to support the efforts and capabilities of states, local governments, tribes and territories impacted by disasters," FEMA Administrator Brock Long said in a statement.
To view the names to be used in this season's tropical storms, click here.