NOAA brings to bear centralized disaster planning, response expertise to the Gulf of Mexico region from its new Mobile, Alabama, office.
NOAA's new Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center (DRC) promises to change the way people prepare for and respond to the many hard-hitting storms, spills, and other events that too often strike this fragile region.
The new 15,200-square foot facility will serve as a central coordination point for federal, state and local emergency managers, and partners who rely on NOAA’s scientific support to make decisions to protect and restore the Gulf Coast’s communities, economies, and valuable natural resources.
Over the past decade, the Gulf region has faced both natural and human-caused disasters, including hurricanes, oil spills, tornadoes, droughts, harmful algal blooms, and wildfire. While many of these severe events cannot be prevented, NOAA can reduce their effects by helping to prepare federal, state, and local decision makers for a variety of hazards and threats.
The center allows NOAA to consolidate several programs in the Gulf region, streamlining response to emergencies. It will house navigation response crafts and their teams, as well as experts in oil and chemical spill response, incident meteorology, damage assessment, habitat conservation and restoration planning, marine debris, nautical charting, and navigation safety.
Centrally located in the Gulf region, the center is designed to withstand severe weather events such as hurricanes and tornadoes; the facility was built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane and includes an interior F5 tornado shelter.
In the picture: U.S. Senator Richard B. Shelby (Ala.) joins NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Eric Schwaab (left) and NOAA National Ocean Service Assistant Administrator David Kennedy (right) in cutting the ribbon.