New York Sea Grant Joins NOAA and NWS in Support of 2014's National Severe Weather Preparedness Week
Coastal Processes & Hazards - News

New York, NY, March 2, 2014 - New York Sea Grant is proud to support National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, March 2-8, 2014. Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this nationwide effort is designed to increase awareness of the severe weather that affects everyone and to encourage individuals, families businesses and communities to know their risk, take action, and be an example.

Being prepared to act quickly could be a matter of survival. This is especially evident during the threat of severe weather. NYSG recently responded to this concern, partnering with NOAA and Sea Grant programs in New Jersey and Connecticut to fund a $1.4M suite of projects under the Coastal Storm Awareness Program, which was announced this past January.

“This work should lead to an improved response from coastal residents in the face of impending storms," said Peyton Robertson, NOAA's Chair of the Sandy Assessment Team. "A better understanding of the true implications of extreme weather threats like Sandy is a step forward in building a Weather-Ready Nation,"



The Wrath and Aftermath of Sandy

For seven days, Sandy pounded the Caribbean and U.S. East Coast with punishing rain, wind, and waves, at some points being named a hurricane and at others a superstorm or post-tropical cyclone. Along its entire East Coast path, Sandy's force accounted for over $62 billion in economic losses and caused 140 deaths.

NYSG provided real-time information on the track, intensity and aftermath of Superstorm Sandy via social media when other outlets, including the Web servers hosting the data of Stony Brook University's Storm Surge Research Group, lost power. And, in the weeks leading up to last fall's one year anniversary of Sandy's landfall, Sea Grant programs in a number of coastal states, including New York, joined NOAA, the National Sea Grant College Program's (NSGCP) federal funding agency, in a look back.  

NYSG-funded researchers were called upon in the year since the storm to provide information and analysis to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC News, ABC News, the Associated Press and Newsday, among others. These investigators were also featured in September 2013's National Geographic: Rising Seas cover story, October-December's Burn - An Energy Journal's radio and Web series, as well as other interviews, panel discussions and documentaries.

"Hurricane Sandy is a wake-up call to all of us in this city and on Long Island," said Dr. Malcom Bowman, a professor of physical oceanography at Stony Brook University's (SBU) School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS). "That means designing and building storm surge barriers like many cities in Europe already have."

Bowman, leader of the Stony Brook Storm Surge Research Group, which has received financial support from NYSG for over a decade now, surveyed the damage from a police helicopter with NBC News reporter Richard Engel just a few short days after Sandy hit the metro NY area in late October 2012. Most recently, Bowman's efforts to inform the public on the impact of storms such as Sandy were highlighted late this past December by The Village Times Herald, a weekly newspaper published nearby SBU's main campus. For more, see "Stony Brook University Researcher Malcolm Bowman vs. The Storms."

The program's award-winning year-long look at "science behind the storm" stories and related YouTube clips reached over 14,300 visitors on Facebook alone, with repeat retweeters on Twitter having included, among others, NOAA Research, the NSGCP, numerous Sea Grant programs, Cornell Cooperative Extension, The Extension Disaster Education Network, SBU SoMAS.  
 
All of this content can be found in NYSG's Superstorm Sandy archive, www.nyseagrant.org/superstormsandy. And there's more on the topic of hurricane education and severe storm preparedness at www.nyseagrant.org/hurricane. Information related to NOAA/Sea Grant's Coastal Storms Awareness Program can be found at www.nyseagrant.org/csap.

Be A "Force of Nature" By Knowing Your Risk

New York Sea Grant is proud to support the goals of National Severe Weather Preparedness Week. "By preparing our communities, we are able to build a Weather-Ready Nation – one that is resilient in the face of extreme weather," said William Wise, NYSG's Interim Director.

"Knowing your risk of severe weather, taking action and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared to save your life and assist in saving the lives of others," added Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan, Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Acting NOAA Administrator.

Here's what you need to know ...

  • Know Your Risk: The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, and learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts. Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.

  • Take Action: Before storms strike, develop a family communication plan, create or purchase an emergency supplies kit, and participate in a local event on April 30 through America’s PrepareAthon.

  • Be an Example: Share your preparedness story with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. Letting others know that you’re prepared will prompt them to prepare as well. Studies show that many people use social media in the event of a disaster to let relatives and friends know they are safe. This is an important trend because people are most likely to take preparedness steps if they observe the preparations taken by others. Social media provides the perfect platform to model preparedness actions for others.

Being weather ready is a collective effort. It takes the whole community to effectively prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate against damages caused by tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and other severe weather.

Learn more at www.weather.gov and www.ready.gov/severe-weather or the Spanish-language web site www.listo.gov. The National Weather Service offers safety tips via "Be a Force of Nature." Follow the National Weather Service @nws and FEMA @readygov on Twitter, or check out all the #BeAForce related content in real-time.


More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSGCP engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources. Through its statewide network of integrated services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources since 1971.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG also offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/coastlines for NY Coastlines, its flagship publication, which, in 2014, merges with the program's e-newsletter, Currents. NY Coastlines is published several times a year.

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