Fierce winds and waves. Tidal flooding and storm surge. Torrential rain. Hurricanes have been called "the greatest storms on Earth" because they are more powerful and deadly than any other natural disaster.
"The peak season for hurricanes is from mid-August through October," says Dr. Wendy Carey, coastal processes specialist for the University of Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service. "With above-average hurricane activity predicted for the Atlantic basin this year, it's important for coastal residents to increase their awareness of these storms and know how to prepare for them now, before a major storm is imminent."
On Thursday, August 24, at 7:00 p.m. at the Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes, Carey will present "Gone with the Wind and the Water: Are You Ready for a Hurricane?" The talk is part of the Ocean Currents Lecture Series held monthly at the campus through September.
During her talk, Carey will explain what a hurricane is and how it develops; the history of hurricanes in Delaware; the causes of severe coastal and inland damage during a hurricane; and the measures that homeowners, businesses, and communities can take to prepare for coastal storms.
According to Carey, the current tropical storm forecast for this year includes seven hurricanes, eleven named storms, thirty hurricane days (periods when a tropical cyclone is observed or estimated to have hurricane-intensity winds), three intense hurricanes (categories 3-5), and a 60% probability of one or more major hurricanes making landfall along the U.S. coast.
"My goal is to encourage people to make some simple preparations now rather than waiting until the 36 hours before a major storm," says Carey. "The types of things people can do now include assembling a disaster supplies kit, knowing the evacuation route and the location of storm shelters, and learning how to protect homes and boats from wind and flood damage."
Currently, Carey is assisting the City of Lewes in advancing public awareness of coastal storms through a Project Impact grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). She chairs Project Impact's Public Education and Awareness Work Group. Besides presenting public seminars and developing printed materials, the group is building a portable unit that illustrates construction techniques for protecting homes from storm damage.
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.