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Remarks by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at the 2020 NOAA Hurricane Outlook


Welcome everyone, and thank you for joining us for today’s annual NOAA Outlook on the 2020 Hurricane Season. The United States is fortunate to have the world’s best scientists, computer and modeling experts, and meteorologists providing us with ever-increasingly accurate forecasts of tropical storms. These experts are constantly learning from current and past weather events. They are analyzing massive new data streams. And they are on the cutting edge of deploying new technologies.

This past February, NOAA announced the purchase of a new high-performance computer system to further improve its forecasting models with higher resolutions and greater clarity. The two new Cray supercomputers have triple the computing capacity and double the storage and interconnect speeds of the previous generation of systems. Each of these computers has a performance rating of 12 petaflops: That is 12, one-thousand, million, million ─ or 10 to the 15th ─  floating-point operations per second. They are among the biggest and fastest machines on the planet forecasting weather.

This summer, NOAA will also upgrade its Hurricane Weather Research and Forecast system. It will integrate vast new data streams from satellites, NOAA’s coastal Doppler data network, and ocean models to produce even more precise forecasts of hurricane tracks and intensity. Americans in harm’s way will be given the critical time needed to heed warnings and take cover. I encourage everyone in a location that may be impacted by a strong tropical depression to pay attention to our Hurricane Center updates and warnings.

And it’s not just people directly on the coasts who should be prepared. A great deal of damage and injuries are the result of inland flooding. Everyone needs to have a plan to contend with power outages and property damage caused by high winds and heavy rains.

Again, thank you for joining us today, and congratulations to the staff of NOAA for their completion of the 2020 Hurricane Season Outlook and for their continuing record of achievement.