By Merle Exit
With the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season beginning June 1, the Weather Channel is true to the network’s “It’s Amazing Out There” mantra.
The show headed out of the studio as meteorologist Mike Bettes traveled to Breezy Point, an area devastated by Superstorm Sandy in October 2012.
Standing on the beach at Breezy Point, Bettes showed viewers the path of Sandy’s destruction while listening to residents about the stalled rebuilding program.
“We believe that this year there will be a slightly below average hurricane season,” said Bettes, “calling for 11 main storms — five of those to be hurricanes, two to be major hurricanes. Even if all those numbers are low, it only takes one to make landfall. It’s an active hurricane season.”
Bettes is an on-camera meteorologist who does a lot of live coverage in the field, “including mostly tornadoes,” he said.
“With last year’s destruction we like to come back and see how they’re prepared or if they’re better prepared for the next hurricane season,” he said. “We talked to people about how the process has gone and their feelings on the new season. Are they anxious, prepared, confident?”
Denise Neibel, president of the Breezy Point Cooperative, was present to describe the area’s status.
“Bureaucracy and paperwork are getting in the way of rebuilding homes. The money set aside to assist people is not getting down to assist those people. The folks that are rebuilding are doing it with their own funds,” she said. “We are also stalled and the sense of urgency is no longer around. We have decisions to be made about projects that are ‘coastal protection projects.’ We need the state to release the funds that we went through the New York Rising [Community Construction Plan] for. There are many families that are still living outside this community and they need to come back.”