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Bentley Sends EMA Team to Hurricane Sandy Disaster Area

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is no stranger to disaster areas and Hurricane Sandy is one of the largest natural disasters to befall the United States in its history. The Alabama EMA is deploying a team of experts to assist the state of New York and the Federal Emergency Management Agency with the ongoing recovery efforts in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said in a written statement on Monday,

“The Alabama Emergency Management Agency has the skills and experience needed to help communities recover. The team that is now in New York will make a tremendous and lasting impact. Their work will be a benefit to everyone involved in the long-term recovery. Alabama stands ready to help other states in any way we can.”

The nine-person Incident Management Team is being initially deployed to the Joint Field Office in Queens, New York where they will assume roles similar to what they did in Alabama following the horrific tornados in Alabama on April 11, 2011. The team’s members were hand-picked for the 14-day mission supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency because of their experience in disaster response, including hurricane-specific recovery operations. The team also has experience with the National Incident Management System.

Alabama EMA Director Art Faulkner said,

“After the tornado outbreak, FEMA teams from all over the country assisted in the recovery operations in Alabama. Today, we are pleased to do what we can to return the favor and help support our Federal Emergency Management Agency partners.”

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Hurricane Sandy was made much worse because the Hurricane (which drew its original strength from the Gulf Stream) made landfall and then combined with artic air from Canada to form into an unprecedented super storm. The storm surge level at Battery Park on the south tip of Manhattan was almost 4 feet higher than the previous record set by Hurricane Donna in 1960. The barometric pressure of Sandy at landfall in Atlantic City, N.J. was the lowest pressure measured anywhere in the Eastern U.S. north of Cape Hatteras, N.C. The previous record was set by the “Long Island Express” hurricane of 1938. Sandy’s central pressure at the time of landfall was equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane. The storm was the second largest Atlantic tropical cyclone with tropical storm force winds extending out 580 miles from the center.

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Some estimates of the total economic costs of Hurricane Sandy reach as high as $50 billion which would make it the second most expensive storm in American history, trailing only Hurricane Katrina at $128 billion (adjusted to 2012 dollars). Gov. Cuomo (D) from NY has announced that he is asking for $30 billion in federal disaster aid. Two weeks after the storm hit 16,300 ConEdison customers in Queens and Brooklyn still do not have power restored. Homes that were flooded with seawater now have dangerous molds growing in them and thousands of requests for aid have not yet been processed.

The team members are expected to return to Alabama on November 27.

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