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October 9, 2017   Newsmakers | Water, water everywhere

Water, water everywhere

October 9, 2017
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Several UGA faculty members have been quoted in national publications about recent Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

Alan Covich, a professor in the Odum School of Ecology, was quoted in a Washington Post article about how Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico's 28,434-acre El Yunque National Forest, the nation's only tropical rain forest outside Hawaii.

Puerto Rico's situation was unique because Hurricane Irma grazed the area just a week before Maria creating a "one-two punch," said Covich, an ecology professor who has studied Puerto Rico for years.

Jose Cordero, a professor in the College of Public Health, was quoted in a Huffington Post article about the medical crisis in Puerto Rico in Hurricane Maria's aftermath.

"I worked at CDC for many years, and I was involved with Katrina and the other hurricanes that came after," Cordero said. "Even for Houston and Harvey, it was pretty easy to deploy a lot of trucks with all of the expected things that would be needed. But when you have over 1,000 nautical miles ... that presents a major challenge in terms of getting all the logistics and materials to the island."

J. Marshall Shepherd, director of UGA's atmospheric sciences program, was quoted in a Forbes article about basic hurricane facts. He believes that forecast inaccuracies are often overstated. A hurricane's projected track is displayed as a protruding forecast cone, which accounts for statistical uncertainties and forecast errors.

"If it's in the cone, it's fair game," says Shepherd, although many people believe that a forecast is only accurate if the center of the storm perfectly traces the line at the center of the cone.

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