This summer, we’ve seen an unprecedented season of storms that has already barrelled through the full alphabet. We’ve also had to deal with these disasters in the midst of another, prolonged crisis — the COVID-19 pandemic. Two experts joined us today to advise on what climate impacts New Jersey is experiencing and should anticipate, as well as to offer tips on how we can prepare our families and communities for extreme weather events while staying as safe as possible from COVID. There were more than 60 participants on this webinar.

Dr. Anthony Broccoli, Co-Director of the Rutgers Climate Institute, offered an overview of the main weather changes triggered by climate change and which of these trends New Jersey should prepare for. Dr. Broccoli highlighted increased and more frequent flooding as a particular risk for our state, as well as extreme heat and cold, heavy rain and dry spells (which can quickly impact the state’s water supply), and potentially, more frequent tornadoes. More research is needed on the effects of climate change on hurricanes, which are becoming more severe, but not necessarily projected to increase in frequency for NJ. Click here for powerpoint presentation.

This context helped to frame Keith Adams’ presentation on his work as Executive Director of NJ Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), a coalition of organizations focused on developing and sustaining community resilience after disasters. Keith shared a set of general guidelines for disaster preparedness, then spoke to the unique challenges of preparedness during a pandemic, including factors such as housing and food insecurity, the infeasibility of shelters with social distancing, and the potential for multiple waves of the virus. Keith emphasized that closer, more connected communities are more resilient and encouraged participants to get to know our neighbors and find ways to support our communities ahead of as well as following disasters. Click here for powerpoint presentation.

Keith shared the following disaster preparedness resources:

  • NJ Office of Emergency Management
  • to register medical or other needs during a disaster (medical equipment, electric wheelchair, etc.) This information will go to your local emergency management office to identify you as a priority for disaster assistance.
  • information on how you can volunteer and help
  • sign up to receive alerts from your local emergency management agency