News

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Thanks to funding from a National Science Foundation grant, several researchers have begun overhauling ADCIRC into a second version, called STORM. STORM will function identically to ADCIRC, however the code behind the program will be improved. This new version will be designed to perform across several different computer hardwares types and will perform more efficiently […]

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CHC Director Dr. Gavin Smith will lead a Community Planning Assistance Team in Lyons, Colorado. Lyons lies about 12 miles north of Boulder. The unforgettable floods of September 2013 caused severe destruction to the town, and Lyons remains drastically affected. The CPAT led by Dr. Smith will provide technical assistance to Lyons as it thinks through the difficult decisions it faces on how to redevelop.

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The Coastal Hazards Center-University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is seeking one or more highly motivated individuals who is interested in pursuing either an MS or a PhD degree with focus on coastal hazards modeling. Read more about the program.

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The second book edition of “Hazards Analysis: Reducing the Impact of Disasters” has recently been released. The book was edited by CHC Advisory Board member John C. Pine, and includes several chapters by CHC Executive Director Dr. Gavin Smith.

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This year, the Coastal Hazards Center announced that Lea Sabbag will receive the DHS Career Development Grant for 2014. Sabbag graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009 after studying Geology and Anthropology.  Sabbag will be working with CHC Executive Director Dr. Gavin Smith to research the role of the State in disaster […]

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CHC Advisory Board member Margaret A. Davison has recently accepted a new position as Senior Advisor for Coastal Inundation and Resilience Science and Services with NOAA and the National Ocean Service.

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This week, the National Research Council, chaired by CHC Director Rick Luettich, released a report titled Reducing Coastal Risks on the East and Gulf Coasts. The report calls for risk-reduction efforts that encompass all social, economic, and environmental aspects.

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CHC Executive Director Dr. Gavin Smith traveled to indonesia in June as part of a University of Hawaii delegation to participate in an educational program sponsored by USAID. The program focused on the delivery of information to local officials, university faculty and students. Dr. Smith gave presentations focusing on disaster recovery that were drawn from […]

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On May 29, 2014, CHC student Yulian Kebede delivered a presentation for the UNC-Coastal Studies Institute. Kebede started out as a summer intern from Jackson State University, working in CHC PI Mo Gabr’s lab. When Kebede graduated from JSU, he came to NCSU for his masters, where he is currently working with Gabr again.

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During their two-week stay at the CHC in Chapel Hill, the cadets worked alongside Executive Director Dr. Gavin Smith to research and learn about coastal hazards, mitigation strategies, and disaster response. The students also had the opportunity to visit sites [...]

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CHC Executive Director Dr. Gavin Smith, in collaboration with Dr. Bruce Glavovic from Massey University in New Zealand, has recently completed the text, Adapting to Climate Change: Lessons from Natural Hazards Planning.

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Summer Research Team Program for Minority Serving Institutions will be supporting Dr. Mohammad Kamal Hossain, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Tuskegee University, Alabama, and Dr. Hossain’s two mechanical engineering students: Ms. Felicia Horne (rising graduate student) and Mr. David Yarbrough (Junior), to undertake collaborative research with the DHS Coastal Hazards Center.

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Members of a Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT) from the American Planning Association visited Lyons, CO, in January to make initial plans for an assistance project. CPAT teams assist four or five communities around the country every year. Teams consist of a leader and a small team of subject matter experts who visit a town, meet with leaders, conduct community meetings, and assist them with a targeted issue.

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On April 28-29, 2014, The Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA) will be hosting the Carolinas Climate Resilience Conference in Charlotte, NC. Practitioners, researchers, and staff from local, state, and federal agencies will be in attendance to share information. The conference will serve as a platform to share experience and knowledge of opportunities, tools, resources, […]

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On February 10th, CHC researcher Phil Berke demonstrated his latest technical tool at the First Responder Technology Demonstration sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate in Washington, DC.

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CHC researchers Drs. Gavin Smith, John Whitehead, Nikhil Kaza, Jae Park, John Pine, Randy Kolar, and Dylan Sandler submitted a report to the Department of Homeland Security regarding a new method to assess risk reduction in a way that aggregates a set of dimensions needed to provide a more accurate and holistic accounting of risk […]

Vermont

Gavin Smith of the University of North Carolina and the Executive Director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Coastal Hazards Center for Excellence was recently interviewed on Vermont Public Radio about his policy recommendations for the state of Vermont in planning for natural disasters, as well as the impacts of climate change. Smith says […]

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CHC researcher Don Resio is serving as co-chair on a WMO (World Meteorological Organization) committee to help with disaster planning in at-risk locations worldwide, including the Philippines. The goal of the committee is to help with the development and implementation of efficient forecasting and warning services, particularly in countries with high vulnerability and a low-capacity […]

Vermont Policy Memo

Vermont experienced major damage to roads, houses, businesses, and communities due to flood impacts from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. Shortly after the flooding occurred, the State of Vermont requested assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help Vermont communities become more resilient to future flooding events [...]

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In response to the 2013 Colorado floods, the University of Colorado at Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning, is sponsoring a series of lectures entitled “Resilient Colorado”.  Executive Director of the CHC at UNC Gavin Smith will kick off this speaker series on Monday, November 11th, with a lecture on planning for post-disaster recovery.   […]

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CHC researchers Drs. Phil Berke, Gavin Smith, and David Salvesen have created a new website, designed to guide practitioners through the process of developing or updating a local hazard mitigation plan that will meet the requirements for approval by FEMA. Like the FEMA Handbook, the website is intended to be used by emergency managers, planners, […]

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Application Deadline: January 6, 2014 The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sponsors a 10-week summer internship program for students majoring in homeland security related science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. The program provides students with quality research experiences at federal research facilities located across the country and allows students the opportunity to establish connections […]

Canada

Postdoc Position

  • October 8, 2013

Coastal communities face many hazards, ranging from oil spills to coastal flooding and the longer-term threats of climate change. The goal of the newly initiated Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE) is to improve Canada’s ability to manage and respond to risk in the marine environment, through disaster […]

NaKarsha Bester and Don Hendon with their mentor Dr. Whalin

Career Development at JSU

  • October 1, 2013

The Coastal Hazards Center at Jackson State University (JSU) is sponsoring a 3-person cohort of coastal engineering graduate students under the DHS Career Development Grant program.  The students, NaKarsha Bester, Donald Hendon (pictured at left with their mentor Dr. Whalin), and Chris Herron received their B.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from JSU in May 2013. […]

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The CHC-E Director at JSU, Dr. Robert Whalin, and the Deputy Director, Mr. Thomas Richardson, were part of a 12-person university delegation from the United States that visited The Netherlands in July 2013 for a flood risk reduction colloquium sponsored by the National Science Foundation.  Floods remain the costliest and most deadly natural hazard affecting […]

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The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 through November 30. Scientists from the Coastal Hazards Center play a key role in providing information about hurricanes and tropical storms that threaten the Gulf of Mexico and East Coast. CHC computer models are in use by the U.S. Coast Guard, FEMA and local emergency management services in NC.
You can view the Center’s hurricane modeling at the CERA website. To download a manual for using the website, please click here.

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One in seven children will experience a disaster, and many of these children quietly struggle with a wide range of emotions. Children’s reactions to a traumatic event such as a disaster can include nervousness, sadness, and anger, as well as more severe symptoms of depression, anxiety, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Families Bouncing Back is an […]

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Remembering Katrina

  • July 22, 2013

On Thursday, August 29, at 7pm at the main library in Durham, NC, join Donn Young, the official photographer of the Port of New Orleans, for his presentation 40 Days and 40 Nights, a portrait of New Orleans after the storm. For this remembrance of Hurricane Katrina…

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Dr. Gavin Smith, Executive Director of the Coastal Hazards Center and Associate Research Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently returned from a summer teaching appointment at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. During his time there he co-taught an intensive summer course […]

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International Data Corporation (IDC) announced the fifth round of recipients of the HPC Innovation Excellence Award at the ISC’13 supercomputer industry conference in Leipzig, Germany. HPC Innovation Excellence Award sponsors include Adaptive Computing, Altair, AMD, Ansys, Cray, Avetec/DICE, the Boeing Company, the Council on Competitiveness, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Ford Motor Company, Hewlett […]

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The Coastal Hazards Center at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) has developed a handbook to help local governments in North Carolina adapt to climate change. The handbook demonstrates the need for local action and explains the options that are open to local governments. Climate change is and will continue to impact every […]

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Recovery

  • June 13, 2013

CHC researchers Drs. Susan Cutter and Chris Emrich of the University of South Carolina are engaged in a multi-year study using empirically tested measures of recovery to track the nature of the recovery and reconstruction process. They are gathering data, such as building…

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Luettich on NPR

  • May 31, 2013

Principal Investigator Rick Luettich recently talked to NPR East about the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season. His storm surge model was used by the Army Corp of Engineers to design and implement a hurricane protection system around New Orleans. It was also used by the National Flood Insurance Program to re-evaluate risk maps. The National Hurricane […]

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Dr. Phil Berke, a professor in the UNC Department of City and Regional Planning, received this year’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring from the UNC Graduate School. Four of the graduate students he mentored (pictured here) received funding support from the Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence. Berke received nominations from alumni and current […]

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Researchers at the Coastal Hazards Center and their colleagues are working on a first-order study of damages that could be prevented by a hurricane surge barrier for Galveston Bay and its vicinity. The study will use results from the recent FEMA Region VI RiskMAP study together with modeling of hurricane surge and waves to evaluate […]

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Scholarship Bowl

  • May 25, 2013

Together with its partners, the Coastal Hazards Center at Jackson State University hosted the third annual STEM Bowl Scholarship Competition. Teams from eight regional high schools competed for over $22,000 in college scholarships. The teams were rated on their written and oral presentations by a panel of five judges which included Dr. Stephen Dennis from […]

Bill Anderson

Bill Anderson is retired from the National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences. Beginning at Ohio State University where he earned his Ph.D. in sociology, Anderson has had a long career as both a researcher and administrator in the hazard and disaster field. At the Annual Meeting, Anderson spoke about the importance of educating the […]

Joseph Direnzo

Advisory Board member Dr. Joe DiRenzo has received a new appointment in the U.S. Coast Guard as Senior Advisor for Science, Technology and Innovation to the USCG Commander, Atlantic Area. In 2000, DiRenzo was detailed to the Atlantic Area staff, serving initially as the Operation’s Division Regional Strategic Assessment Coordinator, then as the Anti-Terrorism Coordinator. In his new position, DiRenzo […]

Boot Campers

ADCIRC Boot Camp 2013

  • April 8, 2013

Each spring, CHC sponsors the ADCIRC Boot Camp, a three day intensive training workshop on the ADCIRC coastal circulation and storm surge model developed at UNC. The event was conceived to give new users the opportunity to rapidly develop the knowledge and skills required to become productive with ADCIRC and its associated technologies. This year’s […]

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Build It Better

  • April 1, 2013

The Build It Better Leadership Forum, held May 16-17, in Charlotte, NC, brought together experts, including Executive Director of the Coastal Hazards Center Dr. Gavin Smith, to identify and discuss mitigation best practices, public policy efforts, and emerging research to make communities more resilient.

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Annual Meeting

  • March 7, 2013

At the center’s annual meeting, Director Rick Luettich (second from left) and Captain Webster Balding (fourth from left) recognize team members Jason Fleming, Stan Ahalt, Brian Blanton, and Carola Kaiser, who shared in the Department of Homeland Security’s Impact Award. The center received the award for its ADCIRC storm surge computer modeling. ADCIRC models are in use by the U.S. Coast Guard, FEMA and other emergency response agencies.[...]

The most recent CRS Coordinator’s Manual, for use by local governments participating in the FEMA program, will include recommendations from the study “An Evaluation of Floodplain Management Planning Under the Community Rating System.” The study was conducted by researchers in the Department of Homeland Security Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence (CHC). Its recommendations included a […]

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration held a webinar about its Digital Coast program on November 14. The webinar was hosted by the Department of Homeland Security Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence, based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The presentation was led by Miki Schmidt, Division Chief of the Coastal Geospatial Services […]

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The damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy serves as a reminder of the importance of pursuing coastal hazards research. The costs of these disasters in the United States continues to grow, with 12 separate weather and climate disasters each causing more than $1 billion in damage last year.

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The Department of Homeland Security’s Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence was presented with the DHS Impact Award on November 7. The Coastal Hazards Center received the award for its work with the ADCIRC storm surge and inundation model ahead of Hurricane Irene in 2011.  ADCIRC is used to predict water heights and flooding in coastal […]

Dr. Gavin Smith, Executive Director of the Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence, was interviewed this week by Jim Schwab of the American Planning Association’s Recover News blog. Smith was interviewed about the impacts of Hurricane Sandy on the eastern United States. Video of the interview is embedded below.

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North Carolina State University professor Margery Overton’s team of student researchers hail from North Carolina, from Florida, and from Turkey. They include Ph.D. candidates, a Master’s student, and a rising senior who is considering graduate school. One has worked with Overton since she began working with the Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence; another only joined […]

The DHS Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence at Jackson State University provided direct support to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) as they prepared for Hurricane Isaac. The Center installed the DHS-developed Rapid Estimates for Approaching Landfall (REAL) system at MEMA the week prior to Isaac’s landfall, then sent two experts to work with MEMA personnel on using the […]

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The New York Times included modeling from the Coastal Emergency Risks Assessment program and Dr. Rick Luettich, Director of the Coastal Hazards Center-Research Lead, in their coverage of Hurricane Isaac yesterday. The NYT infographic, based on CERA projections, can be found here. Additionally, Luettich and his ADCIRC prediction model were profiled by UNC News Services. […]

Dr. Gavin Smith, Executive Director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence Research Lead, was part of a panel in a session titled “Contrasting Approaches to Climate Change and Hazards” at the American Planning Association’s 2012 National Planning Conference. The conference was held April 14-17, 2012, in Los Angeles. Below […]

Rick Luettich

CHC Research Lead Director Rick Luettich was appointed by the Governor of Louisiana to the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Levee Authority – East. The Levee Authority oversees the hurricane protection system on the east side of the Mississippi River, including metropolitan New Orleans. Pictured below, Luettich (left) gets a levee tour.

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For a former landscape architect educated in Wisconsin, post-disaster housing recovery in coastal areas might seem like a curious interest. Despite that, University of Houston-Clear Lake Assistant Professor of Geography Deanna Schmidt has spent this summer leading a team conducting research on that very subject. Schmidt says that her time living and working near the […]

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Academic prowess coupled with a determined curiosity is benefitting the research of Professor Mo Gabr.

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Workshop Aims To Transition Technologies to Mitigate ‘On The Ground’ Threats For the first time, Homeland Security researchers from all over the nation are met in Jackson, Miss., to discuss how to rapidly transition their research to help local leaders be better prepared to prevent and/or mitigate acts of Mother Nature and deter terrorism and […]

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UNC Hazards Center and Coastal Hazards Center Research Associate Dylan Sandler presented a poster titled “Development of Adaptation Strategies for the North Carolina Sea Level Rise Impact Study” at the 2012 Annual Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop. The workshop was held July 17 and 18 in Boulder, Colo. Sandler, who holds a master’s degree […]

Gavin Smith

Dr. Gavin Smith, Executive Director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence Research Lead, delivered a presentation on pre-disaster planning for post-disaster recovery on June 25 in Raleigh. Smith’s presentation gave examples of lessons learned from past disaster recovery efforts and strategies for long-term recovery. The presentation was part of […]

From left to right: Hancock County, MS Emergency Management Deputy John Albert, Tougaloo College student researchers Roshae Wilson and Charden Virgil, Emergency Management Director Brian Adam

Student interns for a research team led by Dr. Ashley Ross of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi have concluded fieldwork on county governments’ disaster resiliency in the Gulf Coast and produced a blog about their travels and research. The 12 interns joined Ross’s project in its second year. Last year, Ross and student researcher Melissa Beeler, […]

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CHC-R Executive Director Gavin Smith lent his experience on N.C.’s flooding to a recent article in Wall Street Journal online titled “Houses Razed After Floods.”

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excerpts from RPI press release dated 6-7-12 | Read Rensselaer’s Press Release. Engineers and scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are working to develop powerful new decision-making and data visualization tools for emergency management. These tools aim to help law enforcement, health officials, water and electric utilities, and others to collaboratively and effectively respond to disasters. […]

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Coastal Hazards Center Research Lead’s Director Rick Luettich is an expert in storm surge modeling. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umnchBR3yZQ

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Coastal Hazards Center (CHC) Education Lead at Jackson State University held its STEM Bowl 2012 at Lockheed Martin’s annual Mississippi IT Day held March 30 at the Jackson Convention Complex in Jackson, Miss. Deputy Director of the CHC Education Lead Thomas Richardson is principal investigator for the STEM Bowl competition. In its second year, high […]

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As Hurricane Irene made its way up the Eastern Seaboard last August, hugging the coast from North Carolina to New York before heading inland over New England, it left major flooding in its wake. The storm also allowed Carolina researchers to put years of computer model development to the test by forecasting the storm surge […]

Presentation at poster session

The inaugural Public Safety Management Poster Competition. It was held Friday, April 27, 2012, at The University of Houston. Seven posters were submitted to the competition, with prizes going to first place ($500), second place ($300), and third place ($200). Photos provided by Principal Investigator Dr. Gino Lim.

Alan leads ADCIRC Bootcamp session

The 2012 ADCIRC Boot Camp was held April 25-27, 2012, in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, in a private venue two blocks from the NOAA facility. This is the third year of the Boot Camp, a three-day session held immediately after the ADCIRC Workshop. The ADCIRC Boot Camp content included SMS as well as ADCIRC training; […]

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On April 4, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate held an Innovation Day on the Hill, showcasing the work of six of its 12 Centers of Excellence (COE). COEs on site included the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and […]

Adel Elsaid, a Ph.D. student at NC State who worked with PI Rudi Seracino, presented at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), Office of University Programs (OUP) hosted the Fifth Annual DHS University Summit held in March 2012. His paper titled, “Vibration Based Damage Detections of Scour in Coastal Bridges,”  […]

Gavin Smith

Gavin Smith, Executive Director of the Coastal Hazards Center Research Lead and Research Associate Professor, was interviewed by Vermont Public Radio April 20, 2012, about the lessons learned in North Carolina from Hurricane Irene about managing rivers. To view the story and listen to the audio, visit here.

Tougaloo College student presenter

On March 23, 2012, the Tougaloo College Disaster Coastal Studies interdisciplinary minor (DCS) held its second annual merit award competition. Students interns and competitors from across the discipline presented their work. As part of the Coastal Hazards Center Education Lead‘s projects, Director Robert W. Whalin and Deputy Director Tom Richardson were in attendance. Participating faculty […]

Ellis Stanley

Advisory Board Member Ellis Stanley was featured in the March/April 2012 edition of Carolina Alumni Review, the magazine for alumni of UNC-Chapel Hill. The article describes Stanley as the Master of Disasters and his appointment as the new chair of the Disasters Roundtable of the National Academy of Sciences.

Creekside Elementary School Science Night

Chapel Hill’s Creekside Elementary School’s Science Night was held March 14, 2012, with more than 250 people in attendance. Program Manager Anna Schwab participated on behalf of the Coastal Hazards Center and Josh Kastrinsky with Plan!t Now sought to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and inventors!

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U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the formation of the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council (HSAAC), comprised of prominent university presidents and academic leaders charged with advising the Secretary and senior leadership at the Department on several key issues. [...]

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Justin Hienz is a contributor to Security Debrief is produced by Adfero Group and The George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute. He recently published a piece in Defense Media Network about the Department of Homeland Security’s Center of Excellence (CoE) initiative. […]

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Dr. Rick Luettich, director of Coastal Hazards Center – Research Lead, visited the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area offices in Portsmouth, Va. Luettich, accompanied by Department of Homeland Security Office of University Program Chief, Dr. Matthew Clark, and Program Director, Eleanore Hajian, met with Vice Admiral Robert Parker, commander of the U.S.C.G. Atlantic Area to […]

Gavin Smith

The failure to plan for disaster recovery results in a process of rebuilding that often presages the next disaster. It also limits the collective maximization of governmental, nonprofit, and private resources, including those resources that are available at the community level. As individuals, groups, communities, and organizations routinely struggle to recover from disasters, they are […]

Kansas City Star report on destructive Joplin tornado published December 17, 2011.

Under Secretary Tara O'Toole's visit to UNC's DIEM 10-20-2011

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Under Secretary Tara O’Toole visited the DHS Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence in Chapel Hill Thursday, October 20. The Coastal Hazards Center (CHC) is co-led by the The University of North Carolina (Research Lead) at UNC Chapel Hill and Jackson State University (Education Lead). [...]

Rick Luettich - ADCIRC

Developed by researchers at UNC, the ADCIRC storm surge model combines rain, atmospheric pressure and wind forecasts to predict when, where and to what extent flooding will inundate a coastal community with greater accuracy than other available models.  The ADCIRC model, an ongoing research endeavor led by CHC at UNC Director Dr. Rick Luettich, enables […]

Gordon Skelton

Following the completion of the major work for the Mississippi Emergency Management Association (MEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) on the 2011 Mississippi River Flood, certificates of appreciation were given to those individuals who provided assistance. The Coastal Hazards Center Education Lead at Jackson State University provided major assistance through the provision of […]

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05/19/2011 09:46 AM BATON ROUGE – Patrick Hesp, R.J. Russell Professor in Geography and Anthropology in the College of Humanities & Social Sciences, has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship for the fall of 2011. “I am both surprised and very happy to have been offered the award,” said Hesp. “I’d like to thank Dean […]