Community Cultural Center Geology, Environment and Sustainability Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

LI Hurricanes: Planning for the Future, Remembering the Past

A roster of prominent meteorologists, geologists, climatologists, government officials and communication experts will examine the legacy of the region’s worst hurricane – the 1938 ‘Long Island Express’ – and how lessons from past storms can improve future forecasting and preparedness at an October 3 symposium at Hofstra University.

The daylong symposium, “Long Island Hurricanes on the 80th Anniversary of the 1938 Storm: Past, Present, and Future”, will feature a keynote address from Dr. Louis W. Uccellini, director of the National Weather Service and assistant administrator for weather services for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Dr. Uccellini’s lecture begins at 11:15 a.m. and will be held in the Student Center Theater, North Campus. It will also be livestreamed.

The ‘Long Island Express’ made initial landfall in Suffolk County on Sept. 21, 1938, killing 60 in Long Island. Since then, other major storms, including Hurricanes Irene and Gloria and most recently, Superstorm Sandy in 2012, have highlighted the region’s vulnerability to tropical storms.

The symposium will explore forecasting techniques, planning for future storms, developing effective ways to disseminate alerts and evacuation orders with exhibits and panel discussions.  The symposium schedule includes:

9:30-11 a.m. – A panel on the history and meteorology of “Historic Long Island Hurricanes: The Long Island Express and Other ‘Big Ones.’”

1-2 p.m. – An Exhibition and Hurricane Preparedness Fair, presented by the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, National Weather Service, New York Office, New York Sea Grant, and the Hurricane Virtual Reality Experience.

2-2:40 p.m. – “Looking Backward: Stories of Long Island Hurricanes,” presented by Jack Schnirman, Nassau County Comptroller.

2:55-4:20 p.m. – “Staying Ahead of the Storm: Current Hurricane Forecasting Techniques” is a panel that will assess how tropical cyclones are predicted and how potential hazards and uncertainty are communicated to the public.

4:30-6 p.m. – “Looking Ahead: How Do We Prevent Another Sandy?” will examine ways to incorporate tropical cyclone risk into planning for Long Island’s sustainable future.

Symposium director Dr. Jase Bernhardt says his goal for the event is to assess our current forecasting and hazard communication techniques and to discuss future planning for resilience against these powerful storms. Bernhardt, who heads Hofstra’s new meteorology program, is using virtual reality to improve storm warnings and preparation. His work with VR aims to determine if those who watch a simulation of a hurricane are more likely to respond with precautionary measures when faced with a real storm. Symposium attendees will have an opportunity to try the VR demonstration.

For information on attending Long Island Hurricanes on the 80th Anniversary of the 1938 Storm: Past, Present, and Future, contact the Hofstra Cultural Center at 516-463-5669. Events are free and open to the public.

For more information on media coverage, contact Karla Schuster at 516-463-6493 or Ginny Greenberg at 516-463-6819.

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