UF experts ready to discuss 2005 hurricane season

Published: May 11 2005


GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With this summer’s hurricane season predicted to be unusually active, the following University of Florida sources are available to speak to speak to the news media about a variety of storm- and hurricane-related topics.

Preparing for hurricanes: Carol Lehtola, an associate professor in the department of agricultural and biological engineering, is an expert on disaster preparedness and recovery information. (352) 392-1864, ext. 223, or CJLehtola@ifas.ufl.edu.

Hurricanes’ impact on beaches: Bob Dean, a retired 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.
(352) 392-9537, ext. 1430, or dean@coastal.ufl.edu.

Hurricane-proofing homes: Bob Stroh is a research professor in the Rinker School of Building Construction, director of the Shimberg Center for Affordable Housing, and associate dean for research in the College of Design, Construction and Planning. He specializes in techniques and materials that minimize hurricane damage in new and existing homes. (352) 392-4836, ext. 288, or stroh@ufl.edu.

Wind speed, force and impact on buildings: Kurt Gurley, an assistant professor of civil engineering, can provide information on ground-level hurricane wind speeds and wind forces on residential structures.
(352) 392-9537, ext. 1508, or kgurl@ce.ufl.edu.

Demographic effects of hurricanes: Stan Smith and Chris McCarty of UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research can discuss how hurricanes prompt people to relocate, both temporarily and permanently. Smith, director of the bureau, and McCarty, director of survey programs, are doing a study, expected to be completed in late June, to determine how the 2004 hurricanes affected community populations statewide – as well as related issues such as damage to homes and people’s experience with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. McCarty and Smith co-authored a 1996 paper that found that Hurricane Andrew forced 353,000 Dade County residents from their homes temporarily and that almost 40,000 people left the county permanently as a result of the storm. McCarty: (352) 392-2908, ext. 101, or ufchris@ufl.edu;
Smith: (352) 392-0171, ext. 210, or sksmith@ufl.edu.

Wind damage to structures and utilities: Ron Cook, professor of civil engineering, can discuss wind damage to buildings, the state’s hurricane-related building codes and how hurricanes affect utilities. (352) 392-9537, ext. 1507, or rcook@ce.ufl.edu.

Utility outages and power distribution: Paul Sotkiewicz, director of energy studies at UF’s Public Utility Research Center, has expertise in energy economics and electric utilities, and can answer questions about power distribution, regulatory matters, electricity restoration and underground utility lines. (352) 392-7842, or paul.sotkiewicz@cba.ufl.edu.

Psychological impacts of hurricanes: Brenda Wiens, a research 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 or bwiens@phhp.ufl.edu.

Hurricanes and the insurance industry: David Nye, a professor of business and the director of the Florida Insurance Research Center, can answer questions related to hurricane damage and the insurance industry.
(352) 392-6649 or dnye@ufl.edu.

Rebuilding/maintaining sand dunes: Deborah Miller, an associate 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) 983-5216 or dlmi@ufl.edu.

Protecting homes against hurricanes: Diane Franzen is a St. Lucie County Extension agent, manager of the Fort Pierce Windstorm Education Center and an expert on building practices for hurricane-worthy and energy-efficient homes. Each year Franzen updates the Personal Hurricane Survival Guide handbook , which is distributed in conjunction with county emergency management services. (772) 462-1660 or DCFranzen@ifas.ufl.edu.

Economic effects of hurricanes: David Denslow, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research and distinguished service professor in economics, can provide information about how hurricanes affect the economy. (352) 392-0171, ext. 340, or denslow@ufl.edu.

Price gouging: Christopher Peterson, an assistant professor of law, is an authority on consumer law and price gouging, a common problem following hurricanes. He is the author of the 2004 book “Taming the Sharks: Towards a Cure for the High Cost Credit Market.” (352) 392-2211, petersonc@law.ufl.edu.


UF News Desk, newsdesk@ufl.edu, (352) 392-0186