14 September 2011

Hurricane Irene: Storm Planning, Impact and Aftermath in New Jersey

The Rutgers University Department of Geography is proud to announce an upcoming symposium entitled “Hurricane Irene: Storm Planning, Impact and Aftermath in New Jersey.”  The symposium will be held on September 16, 2011 at 2 pm in Lecture Hall B117 of Lucy Stone Hall on Livingston Campus in Piscataway, NJ (54 Joyce Kilmer Ave., Piscataway, NJ 08854).  This event has been organized in collaboration with the Rutgers Climate and Society Initiative and the Rutgers Center for Environmental Prediction. Reception to follow.

 State Climatologist David A. Robinson and Natural Hazards Expert, James K. Mitchell, will address a series of challenges leading up to, and left in the wake of, Hurricane Irene. Drs. Robinson and Mitchell (both members of the faculty of the Department of Geography) will discuss Irene in the context of previous major storms in New Jersey.
 In a recent interview with LiveScience, the popular online science magazine, Dr. Robinson explained the pattern of extreme weather events in 2011: “A couple of extreme years could simply be a statistical anomaly....It's when events become persistently volatile over decades that these short-term explanations no longer work.  Ocean patterns can drive multi-decade weather patterns, . . but you also have to look to human impact [on the natural systems].”

 Dr. Mitchell noted after his recent survey of inland areas that were hard-hit by floods generated by Irene: “Although New Jerseyans worry a great deal about the prospect of catastrophic losses from extreme winds and massive inundations in shoreline communities, hurricane Irene demonstrated, once again, a different suite of problems that are typically experienced during the declining phase of hurricanes.”

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