The United States is preparing for what predictions say will be a much more active
hurricane season than 2009. With the official start of the season June 1, forecasters
are looking for 16 to 18 tropical storms and six to eight landfalls. In a typical
season, there are about 11 named storms, of which two to three impact the coast of
the United States.
Texas Tech University has a number of researchers with extensive experience researching
hurricanes such as Rita, Katrina and Ike, and can speak as experts about various aspects
of these devastating storms. Two other experts can discuss the economic impact and,
the impact of the oil spill should a hurricane make landfall.
All the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico needs to go from bad to an unprecedented environmental
disaster is an early hurricane season. As oil continues to flow from the exploded
Deepwater Horizon oil rig, a hurricane now can force escaped oil into wetland habitats
and populated areas causing huge problems for wildlife and humans. Ron Kendall is
director of The Institute of Environmental and Human Health. He can discuss the toxic
effects of oil on wildlife and human health. He was a part of the assessment for the
Exxon Valdez as well as other oil spills and contamination events. Kendall can be reached at (806) 885-4567, or email@example.com
John L. Schroeder, associate professor of atmospheric science, visited affected areas
after both hurricanes Rita and Katrina to deploy instrumented towers that gather high-resolution
storm data at a time when most conventional observation systems fail. Schroeder can
offer insight into how hurricanes develop, move and react to various meteorological
elements. He is an expert on hurricane winds and has been actively intercepting hurricanes
since 1998. Schroeder can be reached at (806) 742-2813 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bradley Ewing, professor of operations management in the Rawls College of Business,
has studied the economic impact of hurricanes and tornadoes for more than 12 years.
He can speak to the impact of hurricanes and tornadoes in cities such as Oklahoma
City, Corpus Christi, Wilmington, N.C., Miami, and Nashville, Tenn. Ewing can be reached at (806) 742-3939 or email@example.com.
Daan Liang, assistant professor of construction engineering technology, investigated
building damages caused by Hurricane Katrina using satellite images and aerial photos
along with ground survey results. Liang has studied how the construction of buildings
affects their vulnerability against severe windstorms with various probability models.
Recently, his research is focused on the advancement of remote sensing technology
in documenting and assessing wind damages to residential structures. Liang can be reached at (806) 742-3538 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Larry Tanner, research associate, completed a six-month investigation working with
the FEMA mitigation assessment team on the wind damage to residential structures from
Hurricane Ike in Texas and Louisiana. He was also a member of the FEMA mitigation
assessment team that studied Hurricane Katrina. He led a team that recorded wind and
water damage along the coastline in Louisiana and Mississippi. Much of the damage
done by Katrina, he said, resulted from structures being built below the base flood
elevation – or the elevation that flood waters will rise to during a 100-year storm
event (meaning the storm only has a 1 percent chance of happening in a year). Tanner can be reached at (806) 742-3476 ext. 336
Ernst Kiesling, professor of civil engineering and executive director of the National
Storm Shelter Association, recommends that homeowners who live above the flood plane
in hurricane-prone areas buy a storm shelter for their home. As was seen in Houston
preceding Hurricane Rita, evacuations are stressful and expensive. They often put
immense strain on traffic corridors, leading to traffic jams and – in the case of
Houston – fatalities. By utilizing in-home shelters, some families who are not required
to evacuate can remain where they are and ease the traffic flow. However, Kiesling
urges buyers to look for a seal of the National Storm Shelter Association when they
buy a safe room for their home, because not all shelters are verified to be fully
compliant with current standards for storm shelters and to provide full protection
from extreme winds. Kiesling has more than 30 years of experience in the design, standards-writing
and quality control of storm shelters. He can be reached at (806) 742-3476, ext. 335 or email@example.com.