On Deadline? Call 352-846-3903

UF Experts on Hurricanes & Storms

The following experts on Hurricane and Storm related topics are available to speak with reporters:

 

HURRICANE SCIENCE

Frequency and intensity of hurricanesCorene Matyas, associate professor of geography, investigates the frequency and intensity of hurricanes, tendencies for certain landfall locations, rainfall patterns, and the characteristics that affect hurricanes’ formation and life cycle. Research includes defining tropical cyclone rain events along the U.S. coast and tropical cyclone rainfall over Puerto Rico. matyas@ufl.edu

Predicting storm surgeDon Slinn, an associate professor of civil and coastal engineering, researches the coastal impact of waves and flooding from hurricanes. He has helped develop computer models that predict storm surge for Atlantic storms and studies the effects of waves and flooding on beaches and buildings. He also works with rip currents and breaking wave dynamics. 352-392-9537, ext. 1431; slinn@coastal.ufl.edu

 

IMPACT OF HURRICANES ON URBAN ENVIRONMENT

Hurricanes and Puerto Rico: Carlos A. Suárez Carrasquillo, a lecturer in the Department of Political Science and affiliate of UF’s Center for Latin American Studies, studies urban politics and the policies and values that impact urban landscapes. He can discuss the political dynamics and consequences of hurricanes in Puerto Rico and Latin America. casuarez@ufl.edu

Hurricane wind damage, wind speed, force and impact on buildings: Kurtis Gurley, associate professor of civil and coastal engineering, has conducted research on the measurement of ground level hurricane wind fields and wind loads, vulnerability of residential structures in hurricane winds, and wind engineering and structural reliability. He has investigated the effects of wind-borne debris in the Florida Panhandle and has applied probability logic to insurable loss due to hurricane winds. 352-392-1508; kgurl@ce.ufl.edu

Preventing wind damage to homes and buildingsDavid O. Prevatt, associate professor of civil and coastal engineering, can discuss current and past construction techniques in homes and buildings in the U.S. and the Caribbean, and what protections they offer against hurricanes. His experience investigating violent tornadoes allows him to discuss first-hand how better building codes can help reduce building damage and human injury. He also can explain how code changes can affect future structural designs and ways to retrofit light-framed wood structures to make them more hurricane-resistant. Prevatt’s most recent work is devoted to understanding the requirements of tornado-resilient communities and reducing annual losses from extreme wind events. 352-392-9537, ext. 1495; dprev@ufl.eduwww.davidoprevatt.com

Hurricane damage, hazardous effect of wind-borne debris: Ajay Shanker, associate professor in the M. E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management, is an expert on wind-resistant design and can talk about the state of Florida’s hurricane-related building codes. 352-359-4233; shanker@ufl.edu

Evaluating sea level rise and storm surge risks for settlement and infrastructure in Florida and Puerto Rico: Martha Kohen, professor and Director of UF’s Center for Hydro-generated Urbanism in the College of Design, Construction and Planning, has developed an atlas of similar conditions throughout Florida, from the current situations towards the future conditions, and the possible adaptive responses to implement. She has conducted research and coordinated International conferences on “Tropical Storms as a Setting for Adaptive Development and Architecture” (December 2017), and “Puerto Rico Re_Start” (March 2018). 352-294-1475; cell 352-494-1461; mkohen@ufl.edumarthakohen4@gmail.com

Water-based cities and Intracoastal Waterway resiliency: Nancy Clark, associate professor and Director of the Center for Hydro-generated Urbanism at the College of Design, Construction and Planning, has worked since 2014 with stakeholders, national and international partners toward visualizing infrastructural civic resiliency proposals for water-based communities in Florida including the Miami-Dade area. 352-294-1472, nmclark@ufl.edu

Public utility preparedness: Ted Kury, director of energy studies at the University of Florida’s Public Utility Research Center, helps utility providers and policymakers decide how to best prepare for severe storms. Kury can comment on how well utility companies have prepared, what homeowners can do to keep their power on and their homes safe, and why we don’t just put all of our power lines underground. A Q&A with Kury approved for media use is available at http://news.ufl.edu/articles/2016/07/are-floridas-utilities-ready-for-the-next-big-storm.php; 352-392-7842; ted.kury@warrington.ufl.edu

 

IMPACT OF HURRICANES ON NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

Rebuilding/maintaining sand dunesDeborah Miller, a professor of wildlife ecology and conservation based at UF’s West Florida Research and Education Center in Milton, has studied the best ways to rebuild sand dunes destroyed by hurricanes. 850-983-7128; dlmi@ufl.edu

Tree protectionAndrew Koeser, an assistant professor with the environmental horticulture department, is an expert in tree health and storm damage to trees. He can address topics such as mitigation efforts, restoring trees following storms, tree replacement, pruning methods to reduce damage potential, preventive pruning to protect homes and other personal property, and evaluation of tree health after hurricanes. 352-262-9165; akoeser@ufl.edu.

Sea level change, coastal erosion: John Jaeger, associate professor of geology in UF’s department of geological sciences, has researched the ways in which hurricanes have impacted Florida’s coastline. Since 2009, he has observed and documented from Kennedy Space Center the causes for shoreline retreat near critical infrastructure, noting that an increase in the frequency of major storms heightens the threat of saltwater intrusion to the launch pads. 352-846-1381; jmjaeger@ufl.edu

Hurricane effects on Florida agriculture: Jonathan Crane, a professor and tropical-fruit crop specialist at UF’s Tropical Research & Education Center in Homestead, has studied how hurricanes affect tropical fruit crops in Florida. His research covers damage to fruit crops and to grove infrastructure such as irrigation systems due to high winds and flooding. 786-217-9271; jhcr@ufl.edu

Hurricane effects on Florida agriculture: Mongi Zekri, Multi-county citrus extension agent at UF/Hendry County Extension in LaBelle. He hs over 30 years of citrus culture experience including preparing for and recovery from tropical storms. 863-674-4092; maz@ufl.edu

Prediction of hurricane-induced storm surge, coastal erosion and beach renourishment, coastal hazard and resiliency: Y. Peter Sheng, professor emeritus of civil and coastal engineering, is an expert in coastal hazard and coastal ecosystem restoration. He has produced a methodology for developing a more accurate Flood Insurance Rate Map for U.S. coastal counties and has run a forecasting system for storm surge, wave and inundation over several hurricane seasons. 352-392-9537, ext. 1521; pete@coastal.ufl.edu

 

HURRICANES AND PEOPLE, ANIMALS

Emergency services and hurricanes: Jeffrey Lindsey, coordinator/lecturer for fire and emergency services programs in UF’s M. E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management, is a retired fire chief who has been an emergency responder and incident commander for a number of hurricanes. He can comment on storm preparation, response and mitigation. 239-560-0083; jeffrey.lindsey@ufl.edu

How hurricanes affect communitiesAnthony Oliver-Smith, a retired professor of anthropology, has spent four decades studying the social impacts of disasters, including vulnerability analysis and post-impact recovery and reconstruction. His most recent research deals with the resettlement of island and coastal communities related to climate change and sea level rise in the Caribbean, which could increase the likelihood of bigger hurricanes and result in storm surges that reach farther inland. 352-377-8359; aros@ufl.edu

Hurricane and other natural disaster preparation: Mike Spranger, a professor in family, youth and community sciences, can give tips on how to prepare for any kind of natural disaster. He adapted a Gulfwide version of the Homeowners Handbook to Prepare for Natural Hazards for Florida residents. The book has basic background on tornados, tropical storms, hurricanes, floods and wildfires, and covers everything from hurricane clips to what to keep in your pantry and what to take with you during an evacuation. 352-562-1390; spranger@ufl.edu

Food safety before, during and after hurricanes: Keith Schneider, UF/IFAS professor of food science and human nutrition.  352-294-3910; keiths29@ufl.edu