2017 hurricane season was 'unprecedented,' new FEMA report says - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

2017 hurricane season was 'unprecedented,' new FEMA report says

The agency said last year's hurricane season "stretched response capabilities at all levels of government." (Source: U.S. Coast Guard via CNN) The agency said last year's hurricane season "stretched response capabilities at all levels of government." (Source: U.S. Coast Guard via CNN)

(CNN/RNN) – The 2017 hurricane season was a rough one.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued its after-action report Thursday.

According to the 65-page account, the 2017 season was "unprecedented" and "stretched response capabilities at all levels of government."

The unprecedented scale, scope, and impacts of the complex combination of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the California Wildfires tested the capabilities FEMA has developed and improved since hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.

The report states that the 2017 hurricane season "revealed areas where the agency was both well prepared to handle these challenges and areas where it can improve."

One of those areas targeted for improvement: "FEMA could have better leveraged open-source information and preparedness data, such as capability assessments and exercise findings, for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands."

The report mentions Puerto Rico 130 times, noting that the death toll from Hurricane Maria is still under review.

FEMA acknowledges that it "could have better anticipated that the severity of hurricanes Irma and Maria would cause long-term, significant damage" to the infrastructures of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Also related to Irma and Maria, the agency acknowledges that "emergency managers at all levels could have better leveraged existing information to proactively plan for and address such challenges, both before and immediately after the hurricanes."

FEMA said nearly 5 million households signed up for disaster relief during the second half of 2017.

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