Storm-induced damages from tropical storms are far more complex than what traditional track and intensity forecasts can capture, says Shuyi Chen, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and hurricanes Harvey and Irma last year, caused extreme wind, rain, surface waves and copious sea spray that pushed the current numerical weather-prediction models into untested territories. Hurricane forecasting is going through a paradigm shift, Chen says in a Sept. 12 invited talk at Penn State University. It is moving from forecasting storm track and intensity, to impact forecasts of extreme winds and rain, high waves, storm surge and flooding.  

Recent advancements in modeling will enable forecasting to meet society's needs for impact forecasts and decisionmaking by the coastal communities worldwide that are facing a changing climate and rising seas.

Chen's research focuses on the dynamics and air-sea interactions in tropical convection, tropical cyclones/hurricanes, and intra-seasonal oscillations. She leads a research group at the UW that has developed a next-generation fully coupled atmosphere-wave-ocean model for coastal and hurricane research and prediction.

Availability: Chen is in Pennsylvania to give a talk on Sept. 12. She flies back to Seattle on Thursday, Sept. 13, and can answer media questions when possible at