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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

UH Experts Have Practical Advice, Noteworthy Research On Hurricanes

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June 8, 2012-Houston-

Forecasters predict about nine to 15 tropical storms this year, with as many as four to eight of those becoming hurricanes. University of Houston resources have expertise in a variety of topics related to storms – before, during and after. If you are unable to reach a professor, call 713-743-8192.

RIGHT INSURANCE POLICIES KEY TO PROTECTION
Robert Schneller, director for risk management at UH, can discuss what type of insurance is needed for hurricane coverage. He can explain why residents in coastal counties may need separate policies for windstorm damage. He also can talk about FEMA’s national flood insurance program, as well as offer tips on steps to take before a hurricane or tropical storm hits and what to do after if property damage is sustained. Reach him at 713-743-5868 or rdschneller@uh.edu.

LEGAL MATTERS ASSOCIATED WITH STORMS
Richard Alderman with the UH Law Center can discuss topics such as price gouging before hurricanes and consumer complaints about repairs, landlords, insurance issues and other legal matters involving damage to homes, trees and businesses in the aftermath of a storm. Reach him at 713-825-6068, 713-743-2165 or ralderman@central.uh.edu.

FOOD AND WATER SAFETY WHEN POWER IS OUT
After the storm, how long can food stay fresh when the power is out? What can you do to protect food in your freezer? Jay Neal and Nancy Graves, both professors with the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, can answer questions about food and water safety, as well as discuss planning nutritious meals with what’s in the pantry, in the event of an extended power outage. Reach Graves at 713-743-2426 or nsgraves@central.uh.edu and Neal at 713-743-2652 or jneal@central.uh.edu.

SHELTER FROM THE STORM
In times of crisis, the hospitality industry recognizes a responsibility to those escaping the storm. Carl Boger, associate dean of academic programs for the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, can address how hotels manage the crisis for the weary traveler. Reach him at 713-743-2610 or cboger@central.uh.edu.

KEEPING ANXIETIES AT BAY
For many Houston-area residents who endured Hurricane Ike, another round of storms brings with it another round of anxieties. Peter Norton, a clinical psychologist and associate professor who runs UH’s Anxiety Disorder Clinic, works on the front lines of treatment and research. Reach him at 713-743-8675 or pnorton@uh.edu.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT WORK IN CASE OF CRISIS
Holly Hutchins, UH associate professor of human resource development, can discuss the effects a hurricane will have on employees, such as maintaining contact with employers and what to do when their place of employment has been destroyed. She also can address issues that face employers, including the areas of crisis management training and post-crisis learning. Reach her at hmhutchins@uh.edu or 713-743-4059.

A SOLAR-POWERED ALTERNATIVE WHEN POWER GOES OUT
Seamus “Shay” Curran, director of UH’s Institute for NanoEnergy, has developed a portable solar-powered generator that can be stored in a garage. When the power is out, pull the unit out and unfurl its solar panels to generate power. Unlike a diesel generator, it is quiet and emissions-free. To learn more about this innovative technology and see a demonstration of the prototype-e, reach Curran at 713-743-3565 or sacurran@uh.edu.

DRIVING RAIN
It’s never safe to drive during the storm, but, for some, staying put is not an option. Industrial engineering professor Gino Lim is testing a program this hurricane season that will allow emergency crews to use laptops and smart phones to locate the flooded streets, allowing them to safely maneuver around them during emergency calls. Reach Lim at 713-743-4194 or ginolim@uh.edu.

MITIGATING DAMAGE, RAPID RECOVERY
Cumaraswamy Vipulanandan, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Texas Hurricane Center for Innovative Technology, deals with how to mitigate damages to structures and pipelines onshore and offshore, as well as how to protect coastal areas during extreme weather conditions. A multi-infrastructural model for coordinating the efforts of various entities for rapid recovery after a hurricane or a major disaster is being developed. Reach him at 713-743-4278 or cvipulanandan@uh.edu.

STORM CHASER TACKLES HURRICANES
James Lawrence, UH associate research professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences, developed a 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 dangerous Category 3 to 5 hurricanes. The instrument was developed for use on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) P3 research aircraft. NOAA has safety concerns because sea salt has encrusted and shut down aircraft engines in the past. Lawrence also has been working on developing a millennium-scale history of hurricane landfall in South Texas from the oxygen isotopic analysis of both animal and plant microfossils. For more information, contact Lisa Merkl at 713-743-8192 or lkmerkl@uh.edu to be connected with Lawrence.

THE ECONOMICS OF DISASTER RELIEF
Thomas DeGregori, professor of economics, has written the article “The Do’s and Don’ts of Disaster Relief,” which can be found at http://www.acsh.org/factsfears/newsID.630/news_detail.asp. He is an economic development expert and has written about and been an adviser on disaster relief for 50 years. Reach him at 713-743-3838 or trdegreg@uh.edu.

THE BUSINESS OF STORM PREP
Planning is key for businesses that want to weather the storm. Backing up files and communicating with employees about recovery efforts are among the suggestions from the University of Houston Small Business Development Center’s Hurricane Business Recovery Center. They promote the concept of “business resilience” to their clients as a way to help small business owners make the connection between preparing now and remaining in business after a storm or other adverse weather event. Reach Terri Bailey Parris at 713-752-8462 or tbaileyparris@uh.edu.

SALT MARSH EXPERT
Steven Pennings, a professor in UH’s department of biology and biochemistry, is an expert in community ecology and conducts his research in the coastal wetlands. Pennings also is conducting research on the impact of sea level rise and erosion on coastal salt marshes, and has studied the effects of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill on marshes in the Gulf Coast. He is available to discuss hurricane damage to coastal wetlands. He can be reached at 713-743-2989 or spennings@uh.edu.

HOTELS AS A PORT IN THE STORM
Fernando Cuéllar, general manager of the Hilton University of Houston, has 40 years of experience in the industry. He rode out Hurricane Rita in 2005 as the general manager of the Renaissance Hotel in Greenway Plaza with 185 guests and employees, as well as 30 pets. He helped make a shelter out of one of the ballrooms, supplying it with bottled water and snacks, where they waited till the winds died down. In 2008, he weathered Hurricane Gustav in New Orleans as the general manager of the Marriott Hotel in Metairie, by Lake Pontchartrain, where he also hosted several police officers from the parish and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Reach him at 713-743-2435 or cfcuella@central.uh.edu.

IDENTIFYING STORM REMAINS THROUGH ANCIENT CLIMATE RECORDS
Don Van Nieuwenhuise is director of the Professional Geoscience Programs at UH. His team is using multiple sources of data to develop a fingerprint to identify known hurricane events, which will allow identification of subtle hurricane deposits to determine climate cycles before 1850. A recently completed study used high-tech sediment analysis and microfossils to identify hurricanes in Laguna Madre sediments from an unnamed hurricane in 1933, Hurricane Beulah (1967) and Hurricane Allen (1980). Reach him at 713-743-3423 or donvann@uh.edu.

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