Hurricane season is a mere 50 days away and before things get started, a very important conference will take place in south Texas this week.
There are several hurricane related conferences each year, some are local or state and some are national level. All of them are important for their own reasons but the NTWC is special because it is designed to bring together broadcast meteorologists and other experts from the world of hurricanes.
As you can imagine, broadcast media is a critical part of getting the word out when hurricanes and tropical storms loom. Having a clear, consistent message is vital to saving lives and minimizing property damage. Thus, getting as many people “in the business” together in one room makes a great deal of sense.
The 2016 conference will feature speakers covering a variety of topics – ranging from seasonal forecast information to updates to the National Hurricane Center’s suite of watch/warning products.
One key element of the conference that I am impressed with is the inclusion of those who are on the front lines within the media. For example, Bryan Norcross has been a speaker and brings a level of insight to the table that few in the media have (Andrew 1992).
This year will feature John Zarella. Many of you may know from CNN, Miami. His coverage of hurricanes is extensive and includes the very important aspects of knowing an urban market with a huge spread of cultural diversity. In addition, Ed Piotrowski, Rob Fowler, Jim Gandy and Bryan Luhn will represent local media interests from South Carolina where unprecedented flooding took place last year, loosely associated with the deep tropical moisture plume from hurricane Joaquin. Their collective perspectives will help the group to better communicate during times of severe weather and especially hurricanes.
We will also hear from key players from the National Hurricane Center, both past and present, about upcoming changes and what improvements can be made to better communicate risk and impacts from tropical cyclones.
From the private sector, AccuWeather, Baron Services and StormGeo will have speakers who bring their wealth of experience, including dealing with the media, to the group. Lew Fincher will address industrial impacts while the topic “Hurricane Strong” will be presented by Leslie Chapman-Henderson from FLASH. This is so important as it helps to round out the discussion by having all of us on the same page; ultimately benefiting the public.
What will the 2016 season be like? Busy? Not so busy? We will find out from Dr. Phil Klotzbach who will present on Thursday, complete with a full run down on the factors that will help to shape the season ahead.
I will be presenting on Friday about our unmanned camera project and how far it has come over the past decade. I’ll also update the group about our HURRB project and what we hope to learn from launching a payload filled with technology in to the eye of a hurricane at landfall.
Remember hurricane Patricia last October? It was at one point the strongest hurricane ever recorded in either the Atlantic or the east Pacific. Josh Morgerman was in Mexico for the landfall and documented the event using not only a camera but also pressure sensors. His passion and drive for getting in to the teeth of the worst of the worst in the tropics is coupled with an important scientific role: collect data. His report on Patricia will be eagerly anticipated.
All of these speakers and more will pack quite a bit in to the two day conference in a beautiful part of south Texas.
It’s almost hurricane season and this year, things may be different than what we’ve experienced over the past several seasons. The El Nino is fading and the Atlantic, at least the deep tropics, is warmer than average. No matter, we are all on the lookout for that one singular tropical storm or hurricane that comes your way. Luck favors the prepared and the National Tropical Weather Conference is a key element in that effort.
For more information and to follow along later this week, check out the National Tropical Weather Conference