Two years after Sandy, workshop focuses on ‘Hazardous Weather Communication’
Updated November 4, 2014 5:00 PM
By PATRICIA KITCHEN patricia.kitchen
As a post-tropical cyclone — not an official hurricane — when it reached Long Island, superstorm Sandy proved to be quite the challenge for those in the weather communication field.
So much so that the National Hurricane Center’s warning system was adjusted last year, allowing hurricane or tropical storm warnings to continue even if a threatening system like Sandy becomes post tropical.
"We need to better communicate that every storm is different and potentially has its own set of surprises," says Brian Colle, professor in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University.
To that end, scientists, students, emergency management pros, weather enthusiasts and regular folks are invited to a Nov. 18 "Hazardous Weather Communication" workshop at the New York State Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology at Stony Brook.
Goals include discussing communication gaps and challenges during such "big storm events," generating solutions, and getting answers to questions, he said, such as how many warnings people need to hear or read and from what sources, and the role of interaction between family and friends.
With Sandy no longer a classic hurricane as it approached the area, the hurricane center did not issue warnings, with the strongest alerts the National Weather Service issued being high wind and coastal flood warnings, Colle said.
"We get these sorts of warnings a few times each year, so it is not that alarming to the public," Colle said of the issue, since rectified.
"Feedback from the general audience will be important for this," Colle said.
The program runs from 7 to 9 p.m., with comments from: John Bruckbauer, deputy commissioner of Nassau County’s Office of Emergency Management; Rich Hoffman, News 12 Long Island meteorologist; Jason Tuell, director of the eastern region of the National Weather Service; Edward Schneyer, director of emergency preparedness for Suffolk County; and Christine O’Connell of the Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University.
Visitors at 5:30 p.m. can enter the school’s Reality Deck, "a cutting edge display" of computers simulating the minute-by-minute rise of Sandy’s floodwaters around Manhattan and funded by the National Science Foundation, Colle said.
The event, free of charge, is sponsored Stony Brook University, as well as the New York City/Long Island Chapter of the American Meteorological Society and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service.
Reservations are required; go to you.stonybrook.edu/itpa/forms/workshop-on-hazardous-weather-communication/
Mark Kramer, Chair
New York City/Long Island AMS Chapter