New York AG Called for Extreme Weather Alerts to Be Made Available in More Languages

New York Attorney General Letitia James sent a letter to the Commerce Department and the National Weather Service (NWS) calling for weather alerts to be made available in all languages commonly spoken in the areas where the alerts are provided. The letter explains that more accessible information can save lives during extreme weather events, which is especially important as climate change causes these events to become more dangerous and more frequent. For example, the majority of deaths in New York City caused by Hurricane Ida last fall were in neighborhoods where up to 80% of households speak a primary language other than English or Spanish, the two languages used in NWS cell phone alerts. In addition to providing a preliminary list of languages for New York City alerts, the letter urges NWS to expand its capacity so that across the country, alerts can be provided in additional languages based on locality.