Extreme Weather impacts Millions across the US


As the summer months continue, extreme weather consistently persists across the United States (US).


Excessive heat and humidity continues to blanket the Plains and Midwest, and the weather is expected to expand east and reach the Southeast US by mid-week, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS). The NWS reported high temperatures throughout the Mississippi Valley toward the Southern Plains, stretching east into the Great Lakes and Deep South. Temperature anomalies in the Great Lakes are facing highs 15 to 25 degrees above normal. Daytime high temperatures are predicted to reach the triple digits by Wednesday, June 22. As a result of heat conditions, the NWS issued heat advisories for many locations across the country. The extreme heat noticeably increases the risk of heat-related illnesses, especially for those working or staying outdoors. The NWS cautioned individuals to drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun, remain in air-conditioned rooms, and check on relatives and neighbors.

Energy company Entergy, which provides power for 3 million customers throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, reported they anticipate to see the “highest energy usage by our customers that the company has ever seen” for the week ahead, following the high temperatures recorded throughout the county. Entergy cautioned they were working to ensure they have enough power for customers across the country to avoid any power disruptions.

NBC-affiliate Kare 11 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, reported the extreme heat has even caused two roads in the area to buckle over the past weekend: Highway 100 in Golden Valley and I-35E north of Rush City. The Minnesota Department of Transportation cautioned drivers to try and avoid driving over any potential road buckles or cracks, which could pose dangerous hazards for drivers.

NWS Weather Prediction Center: Twitter

Extreme heat conditions were responsible for at least 2,000 cattle deaths in southwest Kansas over the weekend of June 11, with National Public Radio (NPR) reporting the intense heat stress for cattle resulted in thousands of animal deaths. Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Communications Director Matt Lara told NPR the agency was aware of at least 2,000 cattle deaths as a result of the heat conditions that resulted in temperatures higher than 100 degrees, which made it “difficult for the cows to stay cool.” NPR suggested the actual number could be higher, as cattle ranches are not required to report the losses. According to the US Drought Monitor, the entirety of western Kansas is currently classified as abnormally dry or in a drought. 

CNN reported the heat dome has spread across the Plains and Midwest, with 70 percent of the US population experiencing temperatures in the 90s in the week of June 20, while 20 percent of citizens are anticipated to experience temperatures greater than 100 degrees. According to AccuWeather, the dome is a wall of heat that is moving over the southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley region, with temperatures reaching into the 90s and triple-digits within the core of the dome. Buildup from the heat can make urban areas uncomfortable in the evening, as paved, brick, and concrete surfaces release heat absorbed through the day during nighttime hours. The heat wave has been ongoing for two straight weeks. NPR noted that over 25 major cities tied or broke record-high temperatures on Saturday, June 11, due to a heatwave that stretched across most of the Southwestern US, enveloping roughly 53 million people under excessive heat warnings.


Extreme heat waves and critically dry conditions continue to increase the risk for wildfire activity across the US. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), 45 large fires are currently active across 10 states, burning more than 1.8 million acres. Alaska is experiencing the bulk of active fires, with 29 currently burning, while Arizona has six active fires and New Mexico is facing three. In its monthly seasonal outlook, the NIFC indicates the year-to-date total of acres burned within the US is approximately 112 percent above the 10-year average.

The Lime Complex, the largest fire burning in the US, currently spans over 484,720 acres of Southwest Alaska. According to Alaska Wildland Fire Information, the Lime Complex is a series of 18 lightning-caused wildfires (with response teams only staffed to handle four fires). Meanwhile, record-breaking temperatures and gusty winds have intensified fire conditions in western states. In New Mexico, NIFC InciWeb recorded that the Hermit’s Peak and Calf Canyon fire complex continues to impact areas east of Santa Fe. The complex has burned a total of 341,471 acres since early April, making it the state’s largest wildfire on record, and it is currently sitting at 72 percent containment. Forest Service law enforcement officers have arrested and charged a subject in connection with the wildfire for natural resource violations, according to InciWeb.

NWS Flagstaff: Twitter


An unexpected atmospheric river made landfall in the Pacific Northwest over the weekend of June 10 -12, leading to extreme flash flooding early last week in Yellowstone National Park. According to NOAA, atmospheric rivers are regions in the atmosphere that transport water vapor and generally release it as rain or snow once they reach land. This weather event produced heavy rainfall which, combined with rapid snowmelt from rising temperatures, caused rivers to swell and overflow their banks leading to intense flooding throughout the lower elevations in the park and surrounding towns. The Yellowstone River surpassed its historical high crest by more than two feet

Montana’s Governor, Greg Gianforte, declared a statewide disaster on Tuesday, June 14, and the National Park Service (NPS) closed all entrances to Yellowstone Park on Monday, June 13. More than 10,000 visitors were ordered to leave the park for their own safety, and about 100 people were airlifted to safety. Videos and photos taken by visitors show flood waters inundating areas and sweeping away entire buildings and sections of roads. Due to severe damage to roads, power lines, and other critical infrastructure, Yellowstone’s north loop will remain closed for an indefinite amount of time and the south loop will reopen on June 22.

Outside of Yellowstone, gateway towns, including Billings, the largest city in Montana, were also affected by the high flood waters. Rising rivers destroyed bridges, inundated homes, and impacted water infrastructure in surrounding towns. One town named Gardiner, located close to the border of Wyoming and Montana, was mostly spared damage from flood water; however, roads in and out of the small town were not leading to hundreds of residents and visitors to be stranded until Tuesday, June 14.

Yellowstone NPS: Twitter

Know Your Alerts and Warnings: Ready.gov

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges individuals to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against these violent storms. An essential preparedness measure is to sign up in advance for your community’s emergency alerts and warnings and to pay close attention to local weather reports for real-time conditions. Ready.gov provides information on how to prepare for, survive during, and be safe after various extreme weather events.

The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation. Visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.

Search and Rescue for Champlain Towers South Condominium Continue, with Assistance from Local, Federal Sources

At 1:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on Thursday, June 24, the Champlain Towers South condominium, a 12-story building located in Surfside, Florida, partially collapsed with a section of units detaching and falling. Emergency crews were onsite within minutes and continue to actively search and rescue, utilizing dogs and technology to assist in identifying missing persons. As of 9:00 a.m. on Friday, June 25, the city confirmed 120 individuals have now been accounted for; however, search and rescue continue to look for 159 unaccounted for individuals. According to the BBC, Paraguayan officials declared relatives of Silvana López Moreira, the first lady of Paraguay, were among those missing. Among those accounted for, 37 were drawn directly from the rubble, and 11 of those individuals are currently hospitalized. Additionally, there are four confirmed deaths, resulting from the collapse. Surfside Vice Mayor Tina Paul told The Washington Post the condominium had just passed a roof inspection on Wednesday.

Twitter: Miami-Dade Fire Rescue 

The County has issued evacuation notices for the surrounding buildings to minimize risk of future injuries at the site. Following the incident, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava issued a local State of Emergency, with support from President Biden, immediately deploying resources for housing assistance and recovery efforts. The following day, June 25, federal assistance to supplement state and local response was authorized in a Disaster Declaration by President Joe Biden. This declaration gives the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authority to “identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.”

Mayor Levine Cava noted that Miami-Dade Fire Rescue leads efforts on the scene, with over 80 Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department units currently supporting the response and recovery efforts, with assistance from municipal fire departments. Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez said rescue groups “have the dogs, have the equipment coming, and they’re going to work through the night.” ABC-affiliated WPLG Local 10 reported groups of 10 to 12 from the Urban Search and Rescue Teams are hunting for any air pockets to locate trapped individuals. However, local news reports that rescue operations are hindered as debris from the structure continues to fall.

Twitter: Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava

In emergency situations, Hagerty encourages individuals to follow the guidance of state and local authorities. The Mayor’s office is closely coordinating with Miami-Dade County Police and Fire Rescue, as well as partnering with the American Red Cross and local civil service agencies to assist with injuries and displaced family members. 


  • Missing persons hotline: 305-614-1819 
  • Free bilingual emotional support services: 833-848-1762 
  • Family Assistance Center at Surfside Recreation Center 9301 Collins Ave for people who cannot locate family members who live in the building
  • Miami-Dade Fire Rescue encouraging anyone who lives at the collapsed condo (8777 Collins Ave) to complete this Wellness Check Form to ensure all tenants are accounted for

The Secret to Mitigation Success: Management Costs

Anyone who has applied for Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grants knows application submission is only half the battle. Administering and implementing the grant successfully can be even more challenging. As with all federally funded programs, there are fiscal and compliance requirements that must be met to prevent jeopardizing grant recoupment. Document retention, file management, procurement, and expenditure tracking can all be heavy lifts for both states and local jurisdictions. Additionally, managing the actual project to meet all program requirement – i.e. project timelines, budget, and cost share – can be burdensome if the right resources are not in place.

What are management costs?

Historically, the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) offered each grant recipient (State, Territory, or Federally Recognized Indian Tribes) 4.89 percent of their HMGP total to manage the grant itself. The recipient had the option to pass down a percentage of management costs to their sub-recipients at the local level; however, most opted not to because the 4.89 percent was already not enough to manage the program themselves at the recipient level.

With the passage of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) in October of 2018, recipients are now eligible for up to 10 percent of the total HMGP amount for management costs. Not only did the DRRA benefit the recipient, but it also provided sub-recipients the opportunity to apply for up to five percent of their total project costs for management costs. The management costs are reimbursable to both the Recipient and Sub-recipient at 100 percent federal share, meaning there are no out-of-pocket costs for the applicable State or local jurisdiction.

Grant Management through Management Costs

Management costs are designed to be utilized by grant recipients and sub-recipients to manage the HMA grant itself versus managing the actual project (e.g., project management). This helps curtail the financial burden associated with grant management at the state and local level, thereby ensuring more effective and efficient grant management and successful mitigation projects reaching completion in a more fiscally responsible and timely manner.

Examples of Eligible Management Costs include:

  • Application development, including the benefit-cost analysis (BCA),
  • Preparing quarterly reports,
  • Processing payments,
  • Relevant training and site visits,
  • Preparing closeout documentation, and
  • Staff salary or consultant costs directly related to performing the activities listed above.

FEMA BRIC Program Technical Assistance: Source

Management Costs and BRIC

With the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Program application period now open, proper grant management is even more important as these complex projects may be higher in dollar value. Applicants (states) and sub-applicants selected for BRIC funding are also eligible for 10 percent and 5 percent management costs, respectively; however, applicants must apply for management costs in a separate application. Sub-applicants should include management costs in the application as a line item in the budget and describe how the funds will be spent in the scope of work.

Hagerty Can Help

Our professionals are experts in navigating the pre- and post-disaster funding world with significant experience applying for, managing, and closing out mitigation grant programs for our clients. Management costs can be used to pay for our expertise at no cost to the applicant or sub-applicant.

We are available to talk about your recovery needs, including how to get the right people in the room and access all funding available through federal grant programs. To learn more, contact Hagerty’s Mitigation Team.

LISTON CONRAD is a Senior Recovery Manager at Hagerty Consulting with experience in the implementation of FEMA mitigation and Public Assistance (PA)  programs along with housing and infrastructure programs funded through Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR). With over 10 years’ experience in the disaster recovery environment, Liston has assisted the states of Mississippi, Colorado, North Carolina, Texas, and California navigate the complexities that disasters bring, including Wildfires, hurricanes and extreme Floods.


As the impacts and effects of climate change are realized, the needs to reduce hazard risks in communities across the country are rapidly multiplying.  The passage of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) in October 2018 has, and will continue to have, a transformative impact on the field of emergency management. Specifically, the DRRA has had a major impact on the Federal Emergency Management Associate (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) programs through the introduction of FEMA’s new pre-disaster mitigation program, Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC). While BRIC represents an important step forward in providing a reliable source of mitigation funding to state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) governments, the goal and intent of the program has exposed many underlying process and policy limits related to HMA programs.  Below we identify some mitigation challenges practitioners are facing across the country, as well as some items that FEMA may want to consider addressing as its programs continue to evolve to meet the quickly changing mitigation needs of our nation.

MISCELLANEOUS project types

As FEMA rolls out its first year of BRIC grants, state and local entities are busy developing eligible, cost-effective, feasible, and nationally competitive projects. FEMA encourages state and local entities to pursue activities that best address priorities in their community including projects that address climate change adaptation and resiliency.  At this time,  these activities are listed as miscellaneous/other in the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Guidance (2015) and they assist communities in “adapting to new challenges posed by more powerful storms, frequent heavy precipitation, heat waves, prolonged droughts, extreme flooding, higher sea levels, and other weather events.” As our country experiences historic wildfires, an unprecedented pandemic, and a hyperactive hurricane season, the miscellaneous/other activities likely offer the best opportunity to address the evolving risks we continue to see in 2020 as well as the conditions forecasted in decades to come. As communities seek to address their mitigation needs through more innovative means than those identified in FEMA’s 2015 HMA Guidance, it has become apparent that a highly flexible, malleable project type is needed which comports with BRIC’s stated goal of finding new ways to mitigate risk to infrastructure and reducing our collective risk to all-hazards.

FEMA Eligible Activities by Program: Source

Mitigation to Migration

As the climate changes, unmitigated sea level rise, extreme weather, and drought have created a need to relocate or migrate people and assets to a new, more stable location. In some instances, communities have already sought FEMA HMA grant funding to address this need. To address these evolving conditions, projects like managed retreat, infrastructure relocation, and wildfire buyout programs may be required.

Currently, FEMA HMA Guidance includes private property buyout project options for flood and landslide hazards; however, wildfire mitigation includes projects that are limited to hazardous fuels reduction, defensible space, and ignition resistant construction, but does not include the option for private property buyout. As we have seen this year, if megafires more frequently become gigafires, there could become a need to relocate communities and infrastructure to a more sustainable and fire safe landscape within of the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). This is one example of the adaptability which will be required to mitigate anticipated hazards and changing conditions which will increase our resilience and reduce our nation’s long-term risks and exposure to these changing conditions.

All-Hazards Adaptability

During the COVID-19 pandemic, States on both the East and West coasts had to grapple with the need to open emergency shelters and surge healthcare facilities due to hurricanes and wildfires. While the FEMA HMA Guidance doesn’t allow for standalone pandemic mitigation projects, FEMA acknowledges in its recent Guide to Expanding Mitigation that public health co-benefits can be identified in structural mitigation projects. Given this guidance, projects with co-benefits or ancillary benefits related to a pandemic, but outside of the project’s primary risk reduction objective, could be included in the project’s scope. As outlined in the BRIC Qualitative Scoring other ancillary benefits include: “water/air quality, habitat creation, energy efficiency, economic opportunity, reduced social vulnerability, cultural resources, and mental health”.

Flexibility for Future Conditions

A multi-hazard approach to mitigation projects also contends with the reality that current and future mitigation must address the compounding effects of climate change on natural hazards. For example, to mitigate stormwater impacts, FEMA’s Nature-Based Solutions provides guidance on watershed, neighborhood, and coastal area project types. Many of these stormwater projects including greenways, permeable pavement, green roofs, and tree canopies can also be effective at mitigating extreme heat and the urban heat island effect. While projects that mitigate heat waves are listed as an eligible miscellaneous/other activity, how to quantify the impacts of this hazard in the FEMA benefit-cost analysis (BCA) tool remains undefined.

As an example, potential benefits (avoided losses) could explore how to quantify increased costs of healthcare, increased hospitalization, and increased energy use, as many residents of California experienced earlier this year.

To translate miscellaneous/other activities into quantifiable mitigation opportunities, the FEMA BCA toolkit needs to provide a more robust way to quantify the benefits of addressing these increasing hazards and future conditions. FEMA’s sea level rise policy has been in effect since 2013 and has helped evaluate how climate change considerations can be incorporated into HMA grants. FEMA recently updated its ecosystem service benefits in BCA policy to allow these benefits to be used regardless of the project’s benefit cost ratio (BCR). FEMA made “this change in recognition that the environment is an important component of a community’s resilience strategy”. Other BCA considerations to increase the cost-effectiveness of innovative, multi-hazard projects would be the development of new pre-calculated benefits, including additional environmental, social, and recreational benefit calculations/methodologies, and updating the outdated, assumptive models to account for future conditions.

Expedited Funding Opportunities

In some instances, there is a critical need for Applicants to quickly submit sub-applications to FEMA so they may review, approve, and award projects.  An example of this are property acquisitions and quick-implementation projects in the post-fire environment necessary to mitigate the impacts of erosion and debris upon people and property downstream of impacted watersheds.  In these instances, it is critical Applicants develop the ability to quickly identify these projects, assist communities with sub-application development as well as work with their FEMA counterparts to develop a system which quickly conveys these projects through the award process.  It is also critical that eligible applicants work closely with eligible sub-applicants pre-award to ensure that should this fast track process be implemented, local communities are able to quickly procure the necessary resources to implement the project in compliance with applicable federal regulations.

Recommendations for 2020 and Beyond

As the BRIC program and our mitigation needs evolve, the next generation of Hazard Mitigation Assistance Guidance will undoubtedly need to adapt to meet our future needs. To successfully do so, all mitigation partners and practitioners should work closely together to address the items identified below:

  • Provide standardized implementation guidance for HMA projects across the FEMA regions to reduce the potential for conflicting approaches between regions.
  • Expand eligible activities to better reflect current and future conditions and broadly market these so they are well known and utilized as appropriate – otherwise, miscellaneous/other will become a prevalent project type.
  • Reconsider duplication of programs as large infrastructure projects may require extensive collaboration and funding from multiple Federal partners to ensure high-impact projects can be built.
  • Revisit previously ineligible activities, such as prescribed burns, which might serve a critical wildfire mitigation role.
  • Better define project-phasing best practices to provide unified guidance on the design development and level of detail needed in a BCA for phased projects. A common question is at what stage of design development does a project require phasing.
  • Expand the current list of pre-calculated benefits and consider the use of pre-calculated benefits for property acquisition in high risk WUI areas and projects that incorporate one or more of the identified nature-based solutions.
  • Expand traditional benefits in the FEMA BCA tool to streamline the valuation of ancillary benefits and future conditions (heat, drought, newly eligible activities under the Disaster Recovery Reform Act, etc.); identify best practices used by other Federal agencies to identify and quantify project benefits to include the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
  • Align FEMA programmatic guidance and BCA methodologies to support the projects identified in the FEMA Mitigation Action Portfolio. Currently, the FEMA MAP includes projects that are not funded by FEMA and do not use FEMA BCA methodologies. Many of these projects would likely be ineligible or not cost-effective using FEMA’s current HMA eligibility and application development mechanisms.

With further evolution of the Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program, governments and communities will be granted a better opportunity to develop the next generation of BRIC competitive projects – projects that make the most of limited mitigation funding by anticipating changes in our environment and being responsive to those future conditions.

Hagerty is here to help. While the cost share for this program is 75 percent federal and 25 percent non-federal, FEMA will provide 100 percent federal funding for management costs associated with the administration of a BRIC-awarded mitigation measure or project. Therefore, our professionals can help at little-to-no additional cost.

Hagerty’s Mitigation Team are experts in navigating the pre- and post-disaster funding world. We are available to talk about your recovery needs, including how to access all funding available through federal grant programs. To learn more, contact us.


Amelia Muccio is the Director of Mitigation at Hagerty Consulting and a subject matter expert in disaster recovery. With over 15 years of experience in public health, disaster preparedness, mitigation, and financial recovery, Amelia has helped clients obtain $5 billion in federal funds after major disasters, including Hurricane Sandy, the California Wildfires, and Hurricane Harvey.

Scott Baldwin is a Senior Mitigation Manager at Hagerty Consulting and a subject matter expert in natural hazard mitigation in both the pre and post disaster recovery environments.  With over 10 years of experience in FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance and Public Assistance (PA) programs, Scott has worked closely with states and communities in Colorado and California to identify, develop, and implement mitigation and recovery solutions tailored to meet their needs.

Vanessa Castillo is a mitigation and planning specialist with experience in the implementation of the FEMA mitigation programs. Before joining Hagerty, she was a planner with the City of Denver where she specialized in environmental compliance. Prior to Denver, she was a Mitigation Specialist with the state of Colorado where she contributed her expertise to the successful implementation of more than $65 million in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) for Colorado’s largest disaster.

Five Active Disturbances Develop Over Atlantic, While Smoke from US Wildfires Moves Across Country Reaching Europe


Hurricane Sally made landfall at 5:45 AM on Wednesday September 16 as a Category 2 hurricane near Gulf Shores, Alabama, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Hurricane Center (NHC). At the time, Hurricane Sally sustained wind speeds of 105 miles per hour (mph). At this time, reports indicate that Sally is directly responsible for one fatality. Since making landfall, Sally has decreased speed and is currently a Tropical Depression moving northeast across southern Alabama at 12 mph, with wind speeds of 30 mph. Sally is expected to continue moving east-northeastward along the East Coast bringing historical levels of rainfall and major river flooding before the system moves back out to sea.

NOAA: U.S. Rainfall Forecast – Tropical Depression Sally

While Tropical Depression Sally continues to wreak havoc across the Gulf Coast, other disturbances continue to develop in the Atlantic Ocean. There are currently five active systems in the Atlantic — one hurricane, one tropical storm, and three disturbances with the potential to become storms in the next five days.

The NHC reports that Hurricane Teddy is strengthening over the open Atlantic and projected to become a major hurricane by Friday. It is approximately 625 miles east-northeast from the Lesser Antilles, moving northwest at 12 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph. According to the NHC, Vicky is currently situated in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean, moving toward the west-northwest near 7 mph. With current wind speeds of 40 mph and increasing, Vicky is expected to strengthen to a Tropical Depression later today, and continue to move west-southwest into Friday. As numerous disturbances continue to move towards land, residents of the United States (US) can expect increased thunderstorm activity and/or heavy rainfall in the next week. 

NOAA: GOES Image Viewer

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) reports that, to-date, wildfires across the state have burned 3.15 million acres of land. At present, the largest active incident in California is the August Complex (including the Doe Fire), which has consumed 796,651 acres and is 30 percent contained. CAL FIRE issued a Fire Weather Watch across the eastern Sierra in California; from Modoc County to Inyo County, bringing critical fire weather conditions to the area. 

The State of Oregon Fires and Hotspots Dashboard reports 26 active fires in the state, with  940,950 acres burned to-date. The largest incident in Oregon is the Beachie Creek wildfire, which has burned 190,137 acres and is 20 percent contained. It has resulted in four fatalities and three injuries, in addition to destroying 470 residences and 818 other structures.

Twitter: CAL OES

Smoke from the dozens of wildfires spreading across California and the western US has dispersed across the country and into Mexico, Canada, and Europe, according to AP News. The European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service observed smoke from the fires spreading almost 5,000 miles to Britain and other areas of northern Europe. The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts also observed that the fires in Oregon, Washington, and California have released approximately 33.4 million tons of carbon. AirNow.gov issued smoke advisories for 12 states and British Columbia, Canada; cautioning unhealthy to hazardous air quality. 

The Ready Campaign: Source

NOAA provides information on Storm Surge Warnings and Storm Surge Watch. If you are under a warning or watch, make sure to seek higher ground. Storm surge can pose a life-threatening danger from rising water filled with debris. 

Additionally, FEMA provides guidance to individuals preparing for, experiencing, or affected by hurricanes. Tropical Depression Sally brings the potential for life-threatening storm surge to many coastal communities. Individuals should heed the warnings of local authorities and prepare for hurricane and severe weather conditions. 


To get a breakdown by State and County of public advisories from NOAA’s NWS in decreasing order of severity, click here.


  • Remember, Ready.gov provides information on how to prepare for Wildfire and how to keep you and your family safe.
  • The Los Angeles Times regularly updated tracking of California Wildfires: California Wildfires Map.
  • The National Fire Protection Association provides wildfire preparedness tips: link
  • Marin County provides a wildfire evacuation checklist: link
  • FEMA provides an information video about how to be prepared for Wildfires: link
  • Understanding the meaning of hurricane maps – a NY Times Opinion Piece: Those Hurricane Maps Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean

Hurricane Laura Recovery Efforts Begin While California Wildfires Continue to Burn Across the State

Recovery efforts are still ongoing for those affected by Hurricane Laura, two weeks after the storm made its way across southwest Louisiana. The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services recorded 12,913 individuals being sheltered in the state across 42 hotels in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Shreveport, Louisiana, according to ABC’s KTRK-TV in Houston, Texas. In Texas, the Texas Division of Emergency Management is sheltering 5,200 Louisiana residents in Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio. 

NBC’s and CW’s KPLC in Lake Charles, Louisiana, issued recovery updates for Calcasieu Parish, noting the Parish remains under a mandatory evacuation order. Sewer District No. 11 of Wards 3 and 8 in Mallard Junction asked customers to minimize water consumption due to the power outages caused by the hurricane. The District is currently functioning with a low-pressure sewer system and the use of excessive water could cause a sewer overflow.

ABC’s KTRK-TV in Houston, Texas reports via the local energy company Entergy that over 85,000 customers were still without power in Louisiana. The company provides power to parts of Louisiana and Texas, and to date it has restored power to 179,000 customers. It is estimated that it will take another six to eight weeks to restore power in Cameron Parish, Louisiana.

While many begin recovery from the devastating impacts of Laura, residents of California continue to battle wildfires. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) stated the wildfires in California have burned 2.28 million acres to date, with 3,849 structures damaged or destroyed. There have been eight confirmed fatalities, and the SCU Lightning Complex is still the largest active incident; burning 396,624 acres with a 97 percent containment rate. The Creek Fire actively burned throughout the night in Fresno County, with zero percent contained. In Madera County, the Red Flag Weather Warning was extended through Wednesday for 8 pm PDT, with high temperatures, low humidity, and high winds expected to persist in the area. CAL FIRE posted evacuation orders for Madera County, with evacuation warnings for Fresno County and Madera County.

UnSplash: Issy Bailey

The Bear Fire (part of the North Complex fire) spread quickly as a result of Red Flag conditions and moved toward communities east of Oroville, California – forcing more evacuations. The New York Times spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Craig Shoemaker, who said the immense volume of smoke from the fire rose over the night to 40,000 feet. He added changing wind patterns would force the smoke eastward, possibly clearing the air near the coast. However, he cautioned that as the smoke reverses, the old smoke may be pushed back ashore. 

Disasters Don’t Wait: Twitter

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages individuals to prepare and plan for disasters. It’s never too soon to prepare for an event. Individuals should follow the guidance of local authorities and remain safe. NBC’s KPRC provides information about active drop-off donation sites in Texas and Louisiana. Requested supplies include diapers, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items, nonperishable food, bottled water, and pet food and supplies.

The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation, visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.


  • Remember, Ready.gov provides information on how to prepare for Wildfire and how to keep you and your family safe.
  • The Los Angeles Times regularly updated tracking of California Wildfires: California Wildfires Map.
  • The National Fire Protection Association provides wildfire preparedness tips: link
  • Marin County provides a wildfire evacuation checklist: link
  • FEMA provides an information video about how to be prepared for Wildfires: link
  • Understanding the meaning of hurricane maps – a NY Times Opinion Piece: Those Hurricane Maps Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean

FEMA’s BRIC Program: A Timely Lifeline

Yesterday, as the East Coast was pummeled by strong winds and numerous tornadoes from Tropical Storm Isaias, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) unveiled the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for its new mitigation program, Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC). Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Tropical Storm Isaias caused millions to lose power – there were nearly 1.4 million power outages in New Jersey alone – and power restoration is anticipated to take several days. The current outages are about half of the more than 2.7 million customers who lost power at the height of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 – the largest outage in the state’s history. Events like this often cause communities nationwide to contemplate the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters and what solutions are available to help us become a more resilient nation; BRIC is one of them.

BRIC’s New Focus

Disasters cause substantial damage and disrupt socioeconomic activities in ways that we cannot fully measure. Additionally, climate variability is causing more frequent and powerful storms that are responsible for unprecedented devastation and costly disaster recovery operations. BRIC aims to categorically shift the current federal focus away from reactive disaster spending towards research-supported, proactive investment in community resilience. BRIC, which replaces FEMA’s legacy Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program, supports states, local communities, tribes, and territories to become more resilient through capability and capacity building and development of large-scale hazard mitigation projects designed to break the repetitive cycle of damage and loss.

The BRIC program will support community resilience in four tangible ways:

  1. Provide larger monetary investment in pre-disaster mitigation to reduce future disaster risk. Last year, FEMA’s PDM program allocated $250 million for mitigation and resiliency activities. That level of investment was historic in its own right, as it was the highest level of funding awarded in the history of the legacy PDM program; however, BRIC’s first-year funding doubled that investment, making $500 million available to eligible state, tribal, and territorial applicants.
  2. Place a greater emphasis on capability and capacity building to promote a culture of preparedness. BRIC sets $600,000 in funding aside – per eligible applicant – to enhance mitigation expertise, knowledge, and practice at the state and local level. Eligible expenditures can include building code activities, partnerships, project scoping, mitigation planning, and planning-related activities. This funding is designed to result in a resource, strategy, or mitigation product that will ultimately reduce or eliminate risk and damage from natural hazards.
  3. Increase project caps to allow for larger-scale infrastructure projects. BRIC changes the national competition cap for mitigation projects, which increased from $10 million to $50 million per project. This increased project cap allows for larger-scale projects that invest in public infrastructure and harden community lifelines. These projects will undergo additional programmatic review, which will evaluate not only technical merit but qualitative criteria such as the population impacted, outreach activities, future conditions, and resiliency effectiveness.
  4. Expressed commitment to nature-based solutions that promote sustainability. BRIC encourages communities to explore nature-based solutions that can serve as eligible project types and mitigate hazards such as riverine flooding, urban drainage flooding, coastal flooding and storm surge, landslides, and drought. Unique, nature-based solutions can provide short- and long-term environmental, economic, and social advantages that improve a community’s quality of life and make it more attractive to new residents and businesses. Potential project types include land conservation, greenways, wetland restoration, stormwater parks, floodplain restoration, rain gardens, and more.

FEMA BRIC and Nature-Based Solutions Presentation: Source

Next Steps

In preparation for the application period opening, FEMA will host a series of webinars to further discuss the grant program details, the agency’s funding priorities, common application pitfalls, and the new system for grant submission (FEMA GO). More information on the upcoming webinar dates and times can be found here. Registration information will be available soon.

The BRIC application period opens on September 30, 2020 and closes on January 29, 2021; however, BRIC project applications will take a significant amount of time and resources to complete. We encourage potential applicants and sub-applicants to begin their planning efforts as soon as possible.

Hagerty is here to help. While the cost share for this program is 75 percent federal and 25 percent non-federal, FEMA will provide 100 percent federal funding for management costs associated with the administration of a BRIC-awarded mitigation measure or project. Therefore, our professionals can help at little-to-no additional cost.

Hagerty’s Mitigation Team are experts in navigating the pre- and post-disaster funding world. We are available to talk about your recovery needs, including how to access all funding available through federal grant programs. To learn more, contact us.


Amelia Muccio is the Director of Mitigation at Hagerty Consulting and a subject matter expert in disaster recovery. With over 15 years of experience in public health, disaster preparedness, mitigation, and financial recovery, Amelia has helped clients obtain $5 billion in federal funds after major disasters, including Hurricane Sandy, the California Wildfires, and Hurricane Harvey.

Katie Grasty is the Deputy Director of Mitigation for Hagerty Consulting. Katie has over 10 years of experience with federal grant management with FEMA and the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT). Prior to Hagerty, Katie was the senior program lead for Hazard Mitigation with FEMA Region 9, where she managed over $2 billion in federal funds for flood, fire, and earthquake risk reduction projects.

How to Jumpstart Your Recovery from COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the nation upside down, and American lives are changing in new ways daily. Today, we are seeing positive cases surge across the country while many communities brace for the impacts of a devastating second wave. Consequently, business, community, and government leaders are continuing to face significant budget shortfalls while continuing to encumber unforeseen expenses. While federal aid to assist them with cost-recovery is available, it has been dispersed across numerous federal departments and agencies posing considerable bureaucratic challenges. Therefore, expeditious financial assistance is difficult to obtain, often resulting in consequential delays for those in immediate need.

 UnSplash: Scott Graham

Hagerty can help. In this unique environment, Hagerty professionals are prepared to support a wide range of recovery needs. Our firm has extensive experience helping clients learn how to: manage funds in a results-driven way to account for future impacts; understand what federal funding they are entitled to; and establish a sound readiness posture as they adjust to a “new normal.”

While the road to recovery from COVID-19 will be long, here are some important tips to jumpstart the process.

Take inventory and track incurred costs. It is critically important to assess the financial impact the crisis is causing, and likely to cause, a business or community. To do this effectively, first take inventory of available resources. This helps better understand where gaps are, and what is needed to fill them to ensure successful short-term response and long-term financial recovery.

While federal funding programs provide the opportunity to better prepare for, respond to, and recover from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, many of these programs are reimbursement mechanisms that require proof of expenditure and loss. Therefore, proactive management and tracking of response activities and associated costs will be the key to success when applying for federal grants.

To begin the tracking process, here are some best practices to follow:

  • Establish clear roles, responsibilities, and procedures for document collection, organization, and review.
  • Create activity logs that can be used to track qualitative information needed to support costs infcurred.
  • Generate unique project numbers, activity codes, and descriptions for tracking costs. It is also vitally important to save all documentation associated with these costs.
  • Establish reporting dashboards and summaries to understand the financial impact and costs, as well as support future financial decision-making.
  • Communicate and train employees on the documentation and tracking process. An informed workforce is critical to future success.

Understand cost-recovery opportunities. Given the significant, unforeseen costs associated with the pandemic, Congress appropriated nearly $3 trillion, and is considering more, to assist state, local, tribal, and territorial governments; healthcare systems and hospitals; as well as some private businesses with cost-recovery. While federal financial support is greatly needed, the increasingly complex eligibility requirements associated with it unintentionally causes many to leave eligible federal funding on the table, thereby slowing the overall pace of recovery.

To tackle this challenge, it is important to create a recovery roadmap. Once again, cost-tracking is important as expenses incurred and revenue lost must be cataloged and justified. Then it is time to strategically sequence and apply for available funding opportunities. This is best done using a single program that can actively seek reimbursement and manage any potential duplication of benefits, which could lead to grant denial. This is not a one-size fits all approach as each recovery is different and varying funding sources are available across the federal government and the private sector – each with their own grant and regulatory compliance requirements. Moreover, it is important to establish an understanding of existing funding overlaps as duplicative benefits could lead to grant denial.

Prepare for future needs. As the COVID-19 response continues to evolve and the potential for a second wave looms, it is important to take the time now to reflect upon prior response efforts to understand what worked well and what did not. After-action reporting is designed to do just that – analyze the management of and response to an incident by identifying strengths to be maintained and built upon, as well as identifying potential areas for improvement. Relevant to the pandemic, it is important to focus on critical functions that can save lives such as logistics management, supply burn rates and tracking, situation assessment and reporting, and crisis communications.

Additionally, as the response and recovery to COVID-19 continues, it is important to be prepared to simultaneously respond to other hazards. Soon, the nation will enter the historical height of hurricane season in the east and the peak time for wildland fires in the west. The pandemic has prompted new challenges and often unpredictable needs for resources, policies, and personnel – now is the time to consider these needs. In this rapidly changing environment, exercises, workshops, and other facilitated discussions should be used to test adaptations that may be necessary during a COVID-19 co-response.


Let Hagerty be a part of your solution. Community recovery from COVID-19 will be a marathon, not a sprint. As the nation seeks to establish a “new normal,” Hagerty understands our clients’ needs are and will continue to be dynamic, and we stand ready to address emerging priorities. We can help navigate this complicated landscape by tailoring a wide range of services to meet your needs.

With the assistance of our digital grants management tools, Hagerty’s diverse team of policy, healthcare, and financial management experts work the overall cost-recovery and reimbursement application process from start to finish, offering real-time guidance and navigation of the often complex and fluid funding streams available across all levels of government as well as the private sector. Furthermore, this process establishes automated reporting which many federal agencies require for the purpose of detailed record-keeping purposes, particularly in the event of a future audit. Moreover, because Hagerty places a premium on quality work, an investment in our services today, could save you significant time and money in the future. Throughout the long-term recovery process, our professionals emphasize the importance of timeliness and efficiency balanced with regulatory compliance. This ensures you are positioned to capture all eligible costs for reimbursement while minimizing the risk of negative audit findings and grant clawback in the future.

Additionally, even in times of significant fiscal instability and uncertainty, our experts can help at little-to-no additional cost to many of our clients. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides funding for administrative costs related to managing Public Assistance (PA) grants and the application process. This funding is available for PA-eligible applicants – state, local, tribal, territorial governments, and certain non-profit organizations – and their respective sub-applicants. This funding may be used to hire disaster recovery consultant experts, like ours, to strategically augment staffing capabilities and expedite results when they are needed the most.

To learn more about our firm and our work during COVID-19, please visit Hagerty’s ‘Disaster Discourse’ Blog.

Kyle McPhee, currently Director of Preparedness Programs for Hagerty, is an experienced management professional who has worked with international, national, regional, state, local and private-sector organizations in the areas of emergency management, homeland security, business continuity, and public health preparedness.  His expertise includes project management, planning, facilitation and evaluation related to various topics including catastrophic incidents, mission ready packages, mass care, and evacuation

Hospital Financial Recovery in the Midst of a Prolonged Response

As outbreaks of COVID-19 occur across the country, hospitals and healthcare systems continue to respond with live-saving resources and heroic measures to treat and care for patients. The response to the pandemic has created significant financial challenges for hospitals and healthcare systems from the effects of COVID-19 testing, treatment, and care. In addition to the cost incurred for caring for COVID-19 patients, hospitals face a 54% drop in patient visits originally from the cancelation of non-emergency and elective procedures. Deferral of procedures is continuing with the fear that one will get infected with the highly transmissible virus simply by going to a hospital for care.  As a result, hospitals’ staggering losses in revenue are mounting. According to a new study by Strata Decision Technology, United States (U.S.) hospitals are losing an estimated $60.1 billion a month and facing a 114% increase in uninsured patients from individuals losing employer sponsored insurance.

Our team at Hagerty Consulting is working with hospitals, healthcare systems, and universities across the country to maximize federal and state short-term liquidity funding opportunities and long-term cost recovery. We craft custom cost recovery roadmaps by understanding the unique expenses incurred along with revenue lost to strategically apply the various state and federal programs available to meet the needs of each institution.

Available Federal Funding Opportunities

To help offset lost revenue and costs incurred for testing, treating, and caring for COVID-19 patients, the federal government allocated $175 billion in relief to hospitals. This funding has been allocated through the Health & Human Services (HHS) Provider Relief Fund (PRF) as follows:


In addition to the $175 billion in relief through the HHS PRF, hospitals are eligible to apply for funding through various other programs, with up to $616 billion in available funding through known allocations and funding streams.

Prospective Federal Funding Opportunities

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. The HEROES Act would provide an additional $100 billion appropriation for the PRF along with new provisions for unobligated PRF funding– originally allocated from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement (PPPHCE) Act — can be distributed and utilized. Currently, the HEROES Act is being considered by the U.S. Senate. If enacted, the law will likely have much needed application-based distributions that will help healthcare providers not only with incurred eligible expenses from caring for COVID-19 patients, but also lost revenue.

On June 12, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives also introduced the COVID-19 Hospital Forgiveness Act. This Act would facilitate loan forgiveness for hospitals and healthcare providers who applied for and received Medicare accelerated and advanced payments. Without the COVID-19 Hospital Forgiveness Act, the $40.4 billion total loan amount will begin to be repaid by providers who received loans. These payments would begin in August of 2020 through the offset of additional Medicare payments.

Hospitals are facing a severe economic crisis. Our team at Hagerty Consulting offers real-time guidance to navigate the complex and dynamic disaster recovery funding available,  including programs through the CARES Act, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA) Program, the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), and other federal and state grants available to support recovery. Our diverse team of policy, healthcare, and financial management experts work with our hospital and healthcare system clients from start to finish in the complex application process to seek and maximize federal and state reimbursement for COVID-19 incurred costs and revenue loss. We emphasize timeliness and efficiency balanced with regulatory compliance to position organizations to capture eligible costs for reimbursement without experiencing de-obligation in the future.

The COVID-19 emergency is an unprecedented public health and economic challenge. The robust federal funding provided so far has been essential for hospitals to be able to continue to deliver much needed medical care. Going forward, additional federal funding will be necessary to properly outfit our public health infrastructure and prepare hospitals that are caring for the sickest of COVID-19 patients while advancing financial recovery in the midst of a prolonged emergency response.


Jeff Bokser is Hagerty Consulting’s Vice President of Healthcare Programs with strategic expertise in all aspects of healthcare operations, finance, crisis management, and recovery. Jeff has over 20 years of experience as a senior leader at NewYork-Presbyterian and Yale New Haven Health. He advanced performance and increased revenue in clinical and nonclinical settings and led innovation in daily operations and care delivery processes. Jeff is nationally recognized in the healthcare sector for his transformational leadership in the areas of emergency and crisis management; security and safety; pandemic and surge planning; and business continuity. Jeff was the system-level executive responsible for Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Management, Business Continuity, Crisis Management, Safety, Security, and Regulatory Compliance for the entire continuum of the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital & Healthcare System enterprise. He served as Incident Commander guiding 40,000+ employees through numerous internal and external emergency response and recovery operations including Hurricane Sandy, Ebola, H1N1, and 9/11.

Exercising Co-Response During COVID-19

June 24, 2020 AT 3:00 PM  EST

Jurisdictions across the United States (US) are actively managing co-response efforts, deploying new emergency management strategies in the face of natural hazards during the COVID-19 pandemic. Active operations across the country are mobilizing modified approaches for responses to wildfires, heat waves, tornadoes, and hurricanes.

As emergency management officials modify their capabilities, governments are rapidly changing, or entirely rewriting, disaster response and recovery plans; prompting new challenges and often unpredictable needs for resources, policies, and personnel. The constant flux of these changes is prompting a significant need for exercises, workshops, and other facilitated discussions to effectively anticipate what changes are needed to effectively launch a COVID-19 co-response.

Hagerty offers co-response capability development and exercise services. To learn more, click here.

Rapidly deployable workshops and exercises offer a timely, rare opportunity to evaluate readiness to simultaneously respond to contrasting response missions. Day-to-day operations do not enable the ability to explore the full range of stakeholders, decisions, and coordination needed to plan for and launch an effective co-response. Moreover, there is an immense scale of cascading impacts that can follow any particular decision. Such considerations include:

  • Each deployed volunteer, contract worker, and government employee represents a potential risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19, creating risks for both their home jurisdictions and those that they are serving. While some states have been able to identify and trace these risks, the increasing complexity surrounding high-impact events later this year may preclude the ability to effectively deploy similar tracing capabilities.
  • Protective action guidance, such as those directing residents to evacuate their homes and seek shelter in a facility with a large group, conflicts with COVID-19 public messaging encouraging “stay-at-home” and social distancing measures. Standard approaches to evacuation, sheltering, and delivery of mass care services need to be updated to reflect infection control and prevention measures. This will also require extensive communication with the public to reinforce new protective action measures.
  • Local, state, and federal agencies engaged in health and emergency management efforts require a rapid review of continuity plans and expansion of virtual communication capabilities to support anticipated impacts and requirements during a co-response.
  • Jurisdictions will no longer be able to fully rely on mutual aid agreements and Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) agreements historically used to support response. These agreements allow jurisdictions to operate through one another’s support and assistance, the capability of which suffers in the context of a national pandemic.

These challenges emerge while multiple actors and agencies may be working closely for the first time. A workshop or exercise allows them to communicate before and plan ahead, so everyone is ready to respond. As co-response missions evolve with COVID-19, exercises will be the platform to transform needs-based changes into strategic ones.


Ashley Saulcy is a Managing Consultant with Hagerty Consulting’s Preparedness Division currently supporting our service lines to provide a cross-cutting approach to co-response planning. Ashley has served across a diversity of non-profit, government, and international development organizations. Her recent experience in systematic post-disaster community planning includes non-profit support to long-term recovery post-Hurricane Harvey and deployment to the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian.