Do you remember what you were doing last year on September 18th? If you lived in the Mid-Atlantic region, chances are you were keeping a close eye on what was happening outside your window as Hurricane Isabel approached the Eastern seaboard and began to unleash its fury over the Outer Banks and eastern sections of North Carolina, east-central Virginia, and several other states.
“Hurricanes have been called ‘the greatest storms on Earth’ because they can be more powerful and deadly than any other natural disaster,” says Wendy Carey, coastal processes specialist with the University of Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service. “They can be hundreds of miles wide and last for days or weeks, causing millions of dollars in damage.”
On Thursday, September 16, at 7:00 p.m., Carey will discuss these potentially devastating storms in the presentation, “Blowin’ in the Wind: Hurricanes & Hazards” at UD’s College of Marine Studies in Lewes. Her talk will conclude this year’s Ocean Currents Lecture Series, which was held monthly at the campus since April.
In her presentation, Carey will provide an overview of hurricanes, beginning with an explanation of the weather patterns that create these powerful storms. She also will explain hurricane impacts and the hazards they present to both coastal and inland areas as well as actions that can be taken to become better prepared in the event of a hurricane.
According to Carey, hurricane activity peaks from mid-August through October, with the month of September being the most common month for hurricanes to reach land. However, she warns that these storms don’t follow rules, making the entire season from June through November dangerous.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has recently updated its forecast for the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. The outlook calls for 12–15 tropical storms, with 6–8 becoming hurricanes and 2–4 of these becoming major hurricanes. This prediction reflects a likely continuation of the increased hurricane activity that began in 1995.
“In the past, many people did not have enough information or advance warning to help them prepare properly for natural disasters like hurricanes,” says Carey. “Luckily, modern technology and communications systems have improved forecasting predictions so everyone can get ready ahead of time, reducing loss of life and minimizing damage to property.”
A member of the Marine Advisory Service since 1999, Carey earned a doctorate and a master’s degree in marine studies from the University of Delaware and a bachelor’s degree in geology from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.
Earlier this year, Carey participated in a hurricane preparedness training session at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. She also has been actively involved in a national rip current awareness campaign sponsored by NOAA’s National Weather Service, Sea Grant, and the U.S. Lifesaving Association.
Carey has developed and participated in many programs designed to increase awareness about coastal processes and hazards. Additionally, she serves as a liaison between regional, state, and local resource management agencies, coastal communities, and the general public on coastal issues.
The lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m. in Room 104, Cannon Laboratory, at the Hugh R. Sharp Campus, 700 Pilottown Road, Lewes. The hour-long talk will be followed by light refreshments.
While the lecture is free and open to the public, seating is limited and reservations are required. To reserve your seat, please contact the college at (302) 645-4279.