Media Advisory

UF experts available for 2019 hurricane season

The following University of Florida sources are available to speak to news media about a range of storm- and hurricane-related topics:


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. Research includes defining tropical cyclone rain events along the U.S. coast and over Puerto Rico as well as analyzing cyclone tracks and impacts over the southwestern Indian Ocean and Mozambique.


Hurricanes and Puerto Rico: Carlos A. Suárez Carrasquillo, a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science and affiliate of UF’s Center for Latin American Studies, studies urban politics and the policies and values that impact urban landscapes. He can discuss the political dynamics and consequences of hurricanes in Puerto Rico and Latin America.

Hurricane wind damage, wind speed, force and impact on buildings: Kurtis Gurley, professor of civil and coastal engineering, has conducted research on the measurement of ground level hurricane wind fields and wind loads, vulnerability of residential structures in hurricane winds, and wind engineering and structural reliability. He has investigated the effects of wind-borne debris in the Florida Panhandle and has applied probability logic to insurable loss due to hurricane winds. 352-392-1508;


Tree protectionAndrew Koeser, an assistant 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. 813-419-6589;

Hurricane effects on Florida agriculture: Jonathan Crane, a professor and tropical-fruit crop specialist at UF’s Tropical Research & Education Center in Homestead, has studied how hurricanes affect tropical fruit crops in Florida. His research covers damage to fruit crops and to grove infrastructure such as irrigation systems due to high winds and flooding. He developed recommendations on preparations for and recovery from tropical wind storms. 786-217-9271;

Hurricane effects on Florida agriculture: Mongi Zekri, multi-county citrus extension agent at UF/Hendry County Extension in LaBelle. He has over 30 years of citrus culture experience including preparing for and recovery from tropical storms. 863-674-4092;

Prediction of hurricane-induced storm surge, coastal erosion and beach renourishment, coastal hazard and resiliency: Y. Peter Sheng, professor emeritus of civil and coastal engineering, is an expert in coastal hazard, coastal ecosystem restoration, and climate change impact. He has a robust forecasting system for predicting storm surge, wave, and coastal flooding during hurricanes in current and future climate. He has produced a methodology for developing accurate probabilistic coastal flood risk maps for any U.S. coastal region from now until 2100, which includes the effects of hurricanes, sea level rise, and precipitation. 352-294-7764;


Emergency services and hurricanes: Jeffrey Lindsey, coordinator/lecturer for fire and emergency services programs in UF’s M. E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management, is a retired fire chief who has been an emergency responder and incident commander for a number of hurricanes. He can comment on storm preparation, response and mitigation. 239-560-0083;

How hurricanes affect communities: Anthony Oliver-Smith, a retired professor of anthropology, has spent four decades studying the social impacts of disasters, including vulnerability analysis and post-impact recovery and reconstruction. His most recent research deals with the resettlement of island and coastal communities in the Caribbean threatened by sea level rise from climate change, which could also increase the likelihood of bigger hurricanes and result in greater storm surges that reach farther inland. 352-377-8359;

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. 352-562-1390;

Angie Lindsey, an assistant professor of family, youth and community sciences, studies how disasters impact communities socially and psychologically, and what makes communities resilient in the wake of a disaster. She also represents Florida in the Extension Disaster Education Network, an international group of extension experts who focus on developing best practices for disaster preparation and recovery. 904-509-3518;