|UNCís hurricane experts track, respond to and study major storms|
|Tuesday, August 31, 2010|
With Hurricane Earl on a path to brush the North Carolina coast and as the hurricane season reaches its traditional peak, experts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can help members of the media who need knowledgeable commentary on topics ranging from the current storm outlook to emergency response efforts. UNC researchers often are on the frontlines of such efforts when storms strike, and the University is a major center of hurricane-related research.
Through the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City, Carolina has nationally recognized hurricane experts based on the coast who, in the event of a major storm, can discuss the hurricane’s impact and aftermath. UNC-Chapel Hill also headquarters several key research hubs, including the federal Center of Excellence for the Study of Natural Disasters, Coastal Infrastructure and Emergency Management; the Southeast Regional Climate Center ; and the North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness .
Storm surge, computer modeling of storms
Director and professor of marine sciences, UNC Institute of Marine Sciences
(252) 726-6841, ext. 137
Director of the UNC Center for the Study of Natural Hazards and Disasters
• Internationally recognized for his work in storm surge and other coastal monitoring and modeling.
• Used computer modeling to predict the storm surge in the days leading up to numerous past hurricanes including Gustav and Ike
• Served on two National Academy of Sciences committees that reviewed New Orleans’ regional hurricane protection after Hurricane Katrina.
Weather and hurricane modeling
Senior research scientist, atmospheric science
UNC Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI)
• Responsible for real-time weather modeling for North Carolina, using high-performance computers to produce high-resolution models of tropical storms and daily weather.
• Can discuss the potential path, intensity and impact of storms
• Works closely with National Weather Service forecasting offices, university researchers and federal agencies on improving meteorological modeling for research and emergency planning and mitigation.
Hurricane prediction, patterns
Charles E. Konrad
Associate professor of geography
College of Arts and Sciences
(919) 962-3873 (office), (919) 380-1695 (home), cell (919) 616-3336
• Can discuss the likely trajectory and behavior of storms, including their potential for strengthening or weakening
• Able to discuss the potential impact of tropical systems on North Carolina, such as flooding
• Can provide context about how storms and other severe weather events relate to general atmospheric patterns and climate change
• Deputy director, Southeast Regional Climate Center. The center’s Web site and staff can provide hurricane-related information, such as rainfall amounts and wind speeds, for both current and past storms
Emergency preparedness, recovery
Director, Center of Excellence for the Study of Natural Disasters, Coastal Infrastructure and Emergency Management
(919) 445-9395 (office), (919) 606-5578 (cell)
• Instrumental in Mississippi’s Hurricane Katrina recovery program, Smith served as the director of the office of recovery and renewal in the Mississippi governor’s office
• Worked in the N.C. Division of Emergency Management from 1996 to 2002, including serving as an advisor to then-Governor Hunt on long-term recovery policies and programs following Hurricane Floyd in 1999
• As director of the Center of Excellence at UNC, Smith oversees its work studying natural disasters in coastal areas, including ways to prepare for such events and protect coastlines and residents from their impact
• The center’s research focus areas include hazard modeling, engineering and infrastructure protection, human behavior, land use planning, and evaluating local and state hazard mitigation plans
William “Bill” Gentry
Director, community preparedness and disaster management program; lecturer, health policy and management department, Gillings School of Global Public Health
(919) 966-4228 (office), (336) 504-2698 (mobile)
• An expert in rescue and recovery issues
• Works with state and county emergency management officials during storm events
• Gentry was involved in response efforts in the wake of a variety of natural and man-made disasters, including Hurricane Katrina and 9/11
Jennifer A. Horney
Deputy director, North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
(919) 843-5566 (office) (919) 260-6204 (cell)
• Conversant on public health needs in the wake of natural disasters
• Helps oversee the center’s efforts to improve the capacity of the nation’s public health workforce to prepare for and respond to emerging public health threats. The center is part of a national network funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
• Was involved in the response to hurricanes Katrina (2005), Wilma (2005), Charley (2004) and Isabel (2003), taking part in the rapid needs assessment following landfall and managing Team Epi-Aid, a student volunteer group from the public health school
Director of emergency preparedness and continuity planning, UNC Healthcare
• An expert in crisis “playbooks” (i.e., developing and implementing emergency operations and business continuity plans)
• During disaster situations, helps coordinate the response efforts of UNC Healthcare, other medical providers, emergency services and other partner agencies and organizations
• More than 10 years experience in public and private sector emergency management; worked on five presidentially declared disasters including Hurricane Katrina and the Burgdorf Junction wildfire in Idaho in 2000
Environmental impact of storms
Hans Paerl, Ph.D.
William R. Kenan Professor of Marine and Environmental Sciences, UNC Institute of Marine Sciences
(252) 726-6841, ext. 133
• Studies the water quality and ecological ramifications of climatic disturbances, including hurricanes, on estuaries and coast waters.
• Developed FerryMon (www.ferrymon.org ), the first ferry-borne water quality monitoring system in the United States.
• Studies data on beach erosion, marine life and nutrient pollution along the N.C. coast.
Mapping hurricane damage to the coastline
Associate professor of coastal geology, UNC Institute of Marine Sciences
(252) 726-6841, ext. 140
• Studies the impacts of sea-level rise, climate change, and anthropogenic land-use change on coastal environments.
• Reconstructs the geologic history of barrier islands, estuaries and river systems.
The Carolina News Studio is available for live and/or pre-recorded television interviews with our hurricane experts. We are also equipped with ISDN connectivity for radio interviews. http://uncnews.unc.edu/broadcast-studio.html
For assistance in reaching any UNC-Chapel Hill experts or to schedule studio time, please contact News Services:
Patric Lane Susan Houston
Health and Science Editor Outreach Editor
(919) 962-8596 (919) 962-8415
To find additional experts on hurricane-related topics that are not included on this tip sheet, please go to our searchable experts database. https://secure.dev.unc.edu/UNCExperts/