Tornado Research Symposium Set for Anniversary of April 27 Storms

Article ID: 588272

Released: 18-Apr-2012 3:00 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: University of Alabama

Newswise — TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Scientific researchers and other professionals will participate in an April 27 symposium commemorating the one-year anniversary of the tornado outbreak that struck this city and the region.

The symposium is a joint effort between The University of Alabama’s College of Arts and Sciences and its Alabama Museum of Natural History, and it will feature a range of presentations about lessons learned from the tornadoes.

It will look at the tornadoes from a scientific perspective and present findings from research conducted about the April 27 tornadoes. Topics include the meteorological conditions associated with the outbreak, responses to warnings and decision-making regarding sheltering behaviors and the lasting impacts on the landscape after the storms.

“This brief symposium is a chance for academics and professionals working in several interdisciplinary fields to collaborate for the common purpose of communicating findings and discussing recommendations for the future,” said Dr. Jason Senkbeil, assistant professor of geography. “The presentations fuse physical and social science together so people can understand the uniqueness of the April 27 outbreak and how to improve tornado preparedness in the future.”

The one-day symposium will be held in 205 Smith Hall on the UA campus and will begin at 1 p.m. It is free and is open to the public.

On April 27, 2011, a massive tornado hit Tuscaloosa, one of several that roared across the region that day. At points, it came within a few blocks of The University of Alabama campus. Fifty-three residents, in Tuscaloosa County alone, died as a result of the storm. More than 12 percent of the city of Tuscaloosa’s residences were destroyed or damaged.

UA speakers for the symposium will include faculty members in the department of geography, Dr. David Brommer, Dr. Jason Senkbeil, Craig Remington, Linda Watson and Dr. Luoheng Han, associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. Other scientific speakers include Dr. Phil Chaney, from Auburn University’s department of geography and geology, and Dr. Kathleen Sherman-Morris, from Mississippi State University’s department of geosciences.

The symposium also will present the public response to the tornado and the media’s reporting of the catastrophe. Wes Wyatt, meteorologist for Fox 6 News in Birmingham, will present “April’s Fury: Summary of TV Weather Coverage.”

John McConnell, director of Planning and Development Services for the City of Tuscaloosa, will discuss the city’s vision for the recovery process. The symposium will conclude with closing remarks from Dr. Doug Phillips, host of “Discovering Alabama,” the Emmy-award-winning television series.


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