BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES: HURRICANE TIP
SHEET FROM UH
The likelihood of above-normal hurricane activity this year is
75 percent, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA). National Weather Service forecasters are predicting 13 to
17 tropical storms, with seven to 10 of them becoming hurricanes.
As you consider stories for your coverage of this year’s hurricanes
and tropical storms, be prepared with these resources from the University
of Houston representing experts across various fields. For more
information, or if you are unable to reach a professor, give us
a call at 713-743-8192.
WORTH HIS SALT: STORM CHASER TACKLES HURRICANES
James Lawrence, UH associate professor of geosciences, has developed
an innovative salt-detection device to measure the salt content
of rain while flying through tropical storms and hurricanes. Lawrence’s
research is aimed at understanding how extra heat derived from sea
spray enhances the development of the dangerous Category 3 to 5
hurricanes. The instrument was developed for use on the NOAA’s
P3 research aircraft and, space permitting, will be flown this coming
hurricane season. The instrument has been tested in the wind tunnel
facility at Texas A&M University and also can be mounted on
his pickup truck to study the salt content of tropical storms and
minimal hurricanes. For more information, Lawrence can be reached
at 713-743-3410 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A MODEL PLAN FOR EVACUATION
Industrial engineers at UH are working on evacuation models for
Houston. Professors Tiravat Assavapokee and Maher Lahmar are developing
a predictive evacuation model that uses road capacity, traffic conditions
and results from flooding models to identify zip-code-based evacuation
routes and schedules for the public. Professor Ali Kamrani is developing
a traffic-optimization model that takes real-time traffic data to
provide recommendations to officers directing an evacuation. Assavapokee
can be reached at 713-743-4127 or email@example.com,
Lahmar can be reached at 713-743-4193 or firstname.lastname@example.org
and Kamrani can be reached at 713-743-4192 or email@example.com.
Faculty from the Department of Industrial Engineering also are working
on forming a university-wide interdisciplinary research group to
focus on disaster mitigation, management and recovery.
GIVE ME SHELTER
A hurricane is coming, and you’ve decided to leave town. Where
do you go, and what is the role of a hotel during this time of crisis?
John Bowen, dean of the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant
Management, is an expert in hotel marketing and available to explain
how the hotel community works together to help evacuees. During
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, he collaborated with the president
of the Houston Hotel and Lodging Association of Greater Houston
to provide resources for people in need of lodging. Bowen can answer
questions ranging from reservations to price gouging and can be
reached at 713-743-0209 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ENGINEERING BETTER STRUCTURAL OUTCOMES AFTER HURRICANES
Cumaraswamy Vipulanandan, chair of civil and environmental engineering,
deals with the structural damages to bridges and other concrete
structures due to long exposures to water and other corrosives.
In his lab, he also is developing chemicals to clean toxic waste
sites. Vipulanandan can be reached at 713-743-4278 or email@example.com.
Bill Dupre, associate professor of geosciences at UH, also can address
large oil spills resulting from the erosion and rupture of pipelines
and can be reached at 713-743-3425 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RECOUPING YOUR LOSSES
“It’s important to protect property from further damage,
but those affected must also preserve the damages,” says Dan
Jones, who has extensive experience in insurance and expertise in
risk management. Jones is an executive professor in the Bauer College
of Business, and he teaches classes in international risk and insurance,
risk management, insurance operations and regulations, and energy
insurance and risk management. Jones can be reached at email@example.com.
A SISYPHEAN CHALLENGE: REPLENISHING GALVESTON’S BEACHES
Donald Van Nieuwenhuise, director of professional geoscience programs
at UH, says that while beach replenishment is touted to bring in
tourist dollars, it is a very short-term solution to protect Galveston
from hurricanes. Tropical storm Claudette made landfall at Matagorda
Island July 15, 2003. Less than a month prior to that, a replenishment
project south of the Galveston Sea Wall was completed at the price
of about $3 million. Estimates made days after mere tropical storm
Claudette landed hundreds of miles to the south suggested about
one-third of the volume of that sand replenishment was removed.
With Galveston only 18 to 20 feet above sea level at its highest
points, a Category 5 hurricane would likely exceed that elevation
and remove all recent beach replenishment sands. Van Nieuwenhuise
can be reached at 713-743-3423 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
HEALTH LAW AND ORDER
The liabilities of volunteer physicians and nurses and quarantines
in emergency shelters are among some of the many legal issues in
health care that Richard Saver can discuss. He is an assistant professor
of law and affiliated with the Health, Law and Policy Institute.
Saver can be reached at 713-743-2263 or email@example.com.
TO EAT OR NOT TO EAT
Food safety when the power goes out is a very real problem during
hurricanes and tropical storms. Nancy Graves, an associate professor
and a registered dietician, and Jay Neal, a lecturer and expert
on food safety, can answer questions about how long food can go
before spoiling without refrigeration and what steps can be taken
to protect food in your freezer in the event of an extended power
outage. Graves can be reached at 713-743-2426 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Neal can be reached at 713-743-1480 or email@example.com.
HURRICANE ENGINES REVVING UP WITH MORE HEAT
In trying to predict quantity and intensity of hurricanes this year,
Donald Van Nieuwenhuise, director of professional geoscience programs
at UH, says the heat engine that drives hurricanes is heating up
from global warming, and as the Atlantic and Gulf warm up the hurricane
engine will have more power. What the atmosphere does with that
extra power, he says, requires complex atmospheric models to predict
the number and intensity of hurricanes that will occur in the Atlantic
and Gulf regions this year or any given year. Van Nieuwenhuise says
last year’s performance of the heat engine suggests his caution
was well founded. Even though the heat engine was pumped up, it
didn’t deliver all of that excess power as hurricanes because
the atmosphere has more than one way to dissipate tropical energy
and move it to higher latitudes. Van Nieuwenhuise can be reached
at 713-743-3423 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT LIES BENEATH?
Flood waters often carry an assortment of unpleasant surprises –
from toxins to creepy crawlers. Knowledgeable about many of the
murky secrets hidden in flood water, UH’s team of civil and
environmental engineers can shed light on what may lay deep within
and how to deal with it. Flooding experts can discuss the environmental
effects, dealing with contaminated water and cleaning the drinking
water, as well as address possible toxins in the water and the natural
recovery of the environment from contamination. For more information,
contact Lisa Merkl at 713-743-8192 or email@example.com
to be connected with the appropriate expert.
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For more information about UH visit the universitys Newsroom at www.uh.edu/admin/media/newsroom.