Hurricane expo kicks off storm season

By: Melissa Schneider / Published: Jun 09,  2009

Ocean Springs, MS – Experts recently were on hand at the Community Hurricane Preparedness Expo to share information about storm surge models, crisis management, ham radio operating, church programs, weather data collection and more at The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Lab.

Keynote speakers for the event included Carolyn Nelson, area coordinator for Mississippi Emergency Management Agency; Maj. Chad Gibson of the Hurricane Hunters; and Kenneth Graham, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service of Slidell, La.

Graham told expo attendees that a hurricane can shift from its projected path and turn an expected small storm surge into a disaster. Storm surge can vary by as much as 20 feet or more over a short distance. He used computerized models to demonstrate how dramatically storm impacts change depending on where the storm comes ashore and encouraged people to be prepared for whatever comes their way.

Many organizations represented at the event offered information about volunteering with groups, such as the American Red Cross or Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT). Others offered information to help residents prepare for the hurricane season.

Organized by the City of Ocean Springs, the May 30 event was funded through the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Storms Program. Chevron Products Company of Pascagoula, Miss., also made a donation to the event.

For more photos from the expo, please look here.

Expo attendees look at a map of all hurricane paths from the past 100 years. During his presentation, Meteorologist-In-Charge Kenneth Graham, of the National Weather Service in Slidell, La., said the map illustrates that it is only a matter of time before another hurricane affects the Gulf Coast.


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