Local News

Weather Experts Discuss Hurricanes At Raleigh Conference

Posted May 12, 2003 5:15 a.m. EDT

— One of the biggest weather events of the last 100 years was the flooding caused by heavy rains from Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd. The event generated a two-day conference in Raleigh about the inland effects of tropical systems.

Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd left much of eastern North Carolina underwater. About 40 speakers are sharing ideas about how the storms affect inland areas like the Triangle.

"It's a way to marry the academic community, the private meteorologists, public meteorologists get them all talking about what we're doing. Let's get together and get a better product out," said Joel Cline, of the National Weather Service.

Monday's focus was based on scientific data. There were discussions about new satellite images that will make it easier to see the eye of a storm. Speakers talked about why North Carolina had record rainfall with Floyd and what causes tornadoes to form when hurricanes make landfall. Some meteorologists came from as far away as Canada.

"Better forecasts, that's the bottom line. If it's not going to produce better forecasts, I'm a forecaster at heart. I do a little bit of research, but I'm a forecaster and the whole thing is about getting the proper information to the public," said Peter Bowyer, of the Canadian Hurricane Centre.

"You have people in academia. You have emergency managers, forecasters and getting everyone together in the same room at the same time is incredibly beneficial," said Dr. Gary Lackmann, of N.C. State University.

The conference is the first designed to address the inland effects of tropical systems. Speakers on Tuesday will talk about hurricane safety, preparedness and relaying important information to the public about the storms.