DURHAM, N.C. – Hurricane Ian continues to pound the Southeast. Comments from the following Duke University experts are available for use in your coverage.
“One of the most disheartening outcomes of weather disasters such as Hurricane Ian is the delayed transfer of information from the weather prediction tools to the general public,” says Nathaniel Chaney, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in the Pratt School of Engineering Duke University.
“In the case of Hurricane Ian, it had become clear almost a day out that the track of the hurricane had shifted south away from Tampa, yet that information didn’t reach general media until six-to-12 hours later, which for these types of events can be too late.”
“Something similar happened in North Carolina. As of yesterday, per the general media, the potential for wind damage in north central North Carolina was pretty low. However, the weather models were already hinting at potentially more danger, which became more clear by last evening.”
“Moving forward, we have to develop better methods to convey information from the weather model to the general public in a more straightforward and direct manner for these types of events. It will make a large difference for disaster mitigation and prevention.”
Nathaniel Chaney is an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in the Pratt School of Engineering Duke University. He can discuss how the soils of central North Carolina can exacerbate flooding problems from heavy rainfall, how the increase in urbanization is increasing flood risk, and the challenges of predicting flooding with sufficient lead time from tropical storms.
For additional comment, contact Nathaniel Chaney at:
Policy Responses to Hurricanes
“Recovery after disasters such as Hurricane Ian will often take years, often after the media attention has shifted elsewhere,” says Elizabeth Albright, an associate professor of the practice of environmental science and policy methods at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.
“Resources — financial, human, and technical — are critical to long-term recovery and a more resilient future. Damages from hurricanes frequently cause disproportionate impacts — with under-resourced individuals, families and communities experiencing greater impacts, especially communities of color.
“Disaster recovery funds from FEMA have also been disproportionately allocated across race with white households and communities receiving greater support on average than households and communities of color. As recovery from Hurricane Ian moves forward, it’s critical that local, state and federal agencies recognize and address these inequities in both damage experience and assistance allocation.”
Elizabeth Albright studies how policy decisions are made in response to storms and other extreme weather events. Albright is an associate professor of the practice of environmental science and policy methods at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. Note: preferred pronouns are they/them.
For additional comment, contact Elizabeth Albright at:
“Recovery is a long slog. I think that’s one of the hardest things for folks – recovery,” says Andrew Read, a professor of marine biology who directs the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, North Carolina.
“Right now, there is a lot of attention on the Gulf Coast. People all over the world are seeing the destruction and the misery that’s there right now. But that attention will soon turn somewhere else, and people will be left there trying to rebuild their lives, their businesses, and universities their institutions in a place that’s been really severely damaged and it’ll take months and probably years for that to happen.”
“When nothing’s working, and there are no cell phones, and there’s no power, being able to be resourceful is really important. I think, when living on the coast like this, one learns to be very resourceful. And I’m sure the folks on the Gulf Coast today are being equally as resourceful in finding ways to move forward.”
Andrew Read, a professor of marine biology who directs the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, North Carolina, and can discuss the process of hurricane recovery, as he rebuilt Duke’s lab after Hurricane Florence in 2018.
For additional comment, contact Andrew Read at: