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UH Offers Experts on Hurricanes

UH Offers Experts on Hurricanes

Representing experts across various fields, University of Houston sources have expertise in an array of topics related to storms – before, during and after.

Lisa Merkl
lkmerkl@uh.edu
713-743-8192

Chances of Hurricane Hitting Texas Discussed at UH ConferenceCoastal Protection, Rapid Recovery Among Topics Addressed by Texas Hurricane Center

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July 29, 2010-Houston-

University of Houston researchers are doing things a little differently with a new model they developed to predict the number of hurricanes that could strike Texas this year. This and other hurricane-related topics will be discussed at a public conference from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Hilton University of Houston Hotel.

The more widely accepted predictions from leading U.S. hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University were devised by looking at a combination of the ocean conditions and past hurricane history. The UH model was developed, in part, by using data kept by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on the number and severity of hurricanes affecting the state in the last 150 years. It relies on trends and mathematics to determine the probability of a hurricane’s landfall in Texas.

“The model, which we hope will be verified through this season’s prediction, indicates there is an increased potential a storm will make landfall in Texas,” said Cumaraswamy “Vipu” Vipulanandan, director of the Texas Hurricane Center for Innovative Technology and professor of civil and environmental engineering at UH. “We predict there is a 35 percent chance there will be one and a 13 percent chance of two hurricanes.”

The Texas Hurricane Center for Innovative Technology formed two years ago and has focused on improving recovery protocols among the public and private sector. This is in addition to developing damage-reduction tools to aid in recovery following a hurricane. Its technologies include helping with preparation challenges, such as anchoring dwellings, pipelines and offshore structures, to remotely monitoring bridge stability with high-tech sensors. There’s even work being done to create a device, similar to what’s used overseas, that would protect areas such as Galveston against storm surge by doubling seawall size with the flip of a switch.

The conference will feature exhibitors from universities and companies across the United States who will share research findings in panel discussions that cover the oil spill in the Gulf, coastal protection, homeland security, debris management, and power grids, utilities and transportation. Registration is $115, and students with a valid ID can attend for $50. For more information, contact Vipu at 713-743-4278, cvipulanandan@uh.edu or visit http://www.egr.uh.edu/hurricane/.

WHAT: The Texas Hurricane Center for Innovative Technology’s one-day public conference
WHEN: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 6
WHERE: Hilton University of Houston – http://www.uh.edu/campus_map/buildings/CHC.php
Off Calhoun Road, Entrance 1 – parking in hotel garage
WHO: Presentations by federal, state, county and city leaders include Texas State Rep. Bill Callegari; Harris County Judge Ed Emmett; Houston City Council Member Stephen Costello; General Land Office Commissioner Jerry Patterson; Jack Steele, executive director of the Houston-Galveston Area Council; TranStar Director Jack Whaley; Ben Thomas, director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Kelly Cook from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; and many others.

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