Newswise — GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- The following University of Florida sources are available to speak to news media about a range of storm- and hurricane-related topics:


Extreme wind effects and wind-driven rain: Forrest Masters, associate professor of civil and coastal engineering, can provide information on hurricane wind and damage to buildings. Masters conducts experiments on land to monitor the intensity and structure of storms, in addition to conducting laboratory tests to simulate the effects of extreme winds and flying debris. 352-392-9537, ext. 1505, [email protected];

Predicting storm surge: Don Slinn, an associate professor of civil and coastal engineering, researches the coastal impact of waves and flooding from hurricanes. He has helped develop computer models that predict storm surge for Atlantic storms and studies the effects of waves and flooding on beaches and buildings. 352-392-9537, ext. 1431, [email protected].

Frequency and intensity of hurricanes: Corene Matyas, associate professor of geography, investigates the frequency and intensity of hurricanes, tendencies for certain landfall locations, rainfall patterns, and the characteristics that affect hurricanes’ formation and life cycle. 352-294-7508, [email protected].


Preventing wind damage to homes and buildings: David O. Prevatt, associate professor of civil and coastal engineering, can discuss present and past construction techniques in homes and buildings in the U.S. and the Caribbean, and what protections they offer against hurricanes. With his experience investigating recent violent tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, Joplin and Moore, he can also discuss first-hand how better building codes can help reduce building damage and human injury. He can also explain how upcoming code changes would affect future structural designs and ways to retrofit light-framed wood structures to make them more hurricane-resistant. Prevatt's current work is devoted to understanding the requirements of tornado-resilient communities and reducing annual losses from these extreme wind events. 352-392-9537 ext. 1495, [email protected],

Damage to water and wastewater systems: Carol Hinton and Ron Trygar, associate director and senior training specialist, respectively, with the UF Center for Training, Research and Education for Environmental Occupation, operate a statewide system that helps public water and wastewater utilities assist one another during emergencies. The system, called FlaWARN, consists of a secure Web-based data bank of available resources and works by matching personnel with the necessary tools to assess and assist damaged water and wastewater systems as quickly as possible following a hurricane or other emergency. Carol Hinton 352-392-9570, ext. 209, [email protected]; Ron Trygar 352-392-9570, ext. 215, [email protected].

Damage to electrical power systems: Ted Kury, director of energy studies for the Public Utility Research Center, has investigated the impact of severe storms on electrical power systems, including the economics of burying electrical lines. His research includes hurricane and hurricane-damage simulations, as well as gathering post-storm damage data. This research is conducted in collaboration with several Florida electric utility companies, co-operatives and municipalities to address the gap in existing research on the economics and effects of strengthening electric infrastructure to better withstand storms. 352-392-7842, [email protected].

Barge vs. bridge accidents: Gary Consolazio, associate professor of civil engineering, has done extensive research on how to make bridges better withstand storm-related vessel impacts. 352-392-9537, ext. 1510, [email protected].


Rebuilding/maintaining sand dunes: Deborah Miller, a professor of wildlife ecology and conservation based at UF’s West Florida Research and Education Center in Milton, has studied the best ways to rebuild sand dunes destroyed by hurricanes. 850-983-7128, [email protected].

Hurricanes’ impact on beaches: Bob Dean, UF graduate research professor emeritus in civil and coastal engineering, is one of the nation’s leading experts on beach erosion and has studied the effects of several hurricanes on Florida’s beaches. He is also knowledgeable about sea-level rise and hurricanes. 352-377-3261, [email protected].

Tree protection: Ed Gilman, a professor with the environmental horticulture department, is an expert in tree health and storm damage to trees. He can address topics such as mitigation efforts, restoring trees following storms, tree replacement, pruning methods to reduce damage potential, preventive pruning to protect homes and other personal property and evaluation of tree health after hurricanes. (cell) 352-262-9165, [email protected].


Hurricanes and pets/farm animals: John Haven directs the UF College of Veterinary Medicine’s All Animals, All Hazards Disaster Response Team and has participated in animal care operations related to hurricanes, fires and disease outbreaks. He is the animal technical rescue team leader, in which he teaches large and small animal rescue. He is a member of the State Agriculture Response Team, coordinator for the State Veterinary Reserve Corps disaster response team, and an Incident Command System Instructor. 352-294-4254, ext. 3154, [email protected].

How hurricanes affect communities: Anthony Oliver-Smith, retired professor of anthropology, has spent four decades studying the social impacts of disasters, including vulnerability analysis and post-impact recovery and reconstruction. 352-377-8359, [email protected].

Psychological impacts of hurricanes: Brenda Wiens, a clinical assistant professor and psychologist in the department of clinical and health psychology and the National Rural Behavioral Health Center, can speak about the mental health effects of hurricanes and other natural disasters. 352-273-5120, [email protected].

Demographic effects of hurricanes: Chris McCarty, director of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research, can discuss how hurricanes prompt people to relocate, both temporarily and permanently. McCarty did a study of the 2004 hurricanes that found nearly 4.5 million Floridians evacuated their homes at one time or another during the summer. The study also estimated that 2.6 million of Florida’s 8.1 million housing units were damaged by the storms. McCarty co-authored a 1996 paper that found that Hurricane Andrew forced 353,000 Miami-Dade County residents from their homes temporarily and that almost 40,000 people left the county permanently as a result of the storm. 352-392-2908, ext. 101, [email protected].

Hurricane and other natural disaster preparation: Mike Spranger, a professor in family, youth and community sciences, can give tips on how to prepare for any kind of natural disaster. He adapted a Gulfwide version of the Homeowners Handbook to Prepare for Natural Hazards for Florida residents. The book has basic background on tornados, tropical storms, hurricanes, floods and wildfires, and covers everything from, hurricane clips to what to keep in your pantry and what to take with you during an evacuation. 352-273-3557, [email protected]