Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Deal Reached on Contract for 2009 Hurricane Season

The National Weather Service announced this morning that a contract for the 2009 hurricane season has been reached with the Atlantic Ocean. The deal comes after months of negotiations following the conclusion of the 2008 season and endless haggling over the United State’s economic capability of handling a devastating season. With a contract now in place for 2009, the NWS can now focus on taking some of the guesswork out of the intangibles of the deal.

The contract gives the Atlantic Ocean the right to generate 19 tropical storms/hurricanes from its waters, up two from 2008. Of these 19 storms only 5 are allowed to make landfall over US soil, down one from last year. Contract negotiations worked out a lower landfall total for the US but gave the Atlantic Ocean discretion over the intensity of the storms that reach land.

“Our job now is to figure out how the Atlantic is going to play its hand,” said Judd Pendergrast, of the National Weathers Service’s Miami office. “We certainly know that it likes to play ball in Florida but we need to game plan other areas of the US as well. Also, the contract extends the 2009 season by a week over last year which changes the dynamic we operate under.”

The NWS took over hurricane negotiations after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration opened the doors for the Atlantic to unleash hurricane Katrina in 2005. While the NOAA has maintained that negotiating with the Atlantic Ocean is not an exact science, it also concedes that their 2005 contract should not have included “levee buster” incentives for the Atlantic that year.

Much of this year’s negotiations hinged on the United State’s ability to financially withstand a devastating season and the Obama administration made the Atlantic perfectly clear that devastation would not be permissible in blue-states. Florida, a former red-state turned blue went a long way towards securing the Presidency for Obama and the President has used his clout to negotiate favorable terms for the Sunshine State this year.

Merman King Triton has been the Atlantic Ocean’s representative for these talks and he admits that he has not of yet been fully able to feel out the President.

“Yeah, I am not sure how hard I can push this time,” said Triton. “I mean, I know the man can walk on water and that doesn’t bode well for our side. It might not be a good idea to test him just yet. But we have serious plans to relocate San Padre Island to Nebraska and I plan on seeing that through. It’s just a process, that’s all.”

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