January 11, 2010

Forecasting island weather will be topic of community forum


The Island Free Press is sponsoring a community forum on forecasting the weather on Hatteras and Ocracoke on Tuesday, Jan. 26, from 1 until 3 p.m. at the Community Building in Hatteras village.

Guest speakers will include two meteorologists from the local National Weather Service office in Newport/Morehead City, N.C.

Meteorologists Brian Cullen and Scott Kennedy will talk about the work of the local office with a focus on the coastal flood program.

Weather is always foremost on our minds on the islands – for those of us who live here and for our visitors. The weather affects our businesses – from commercial fishermen to charter boat captains to shop owners. And it affects recreational pursuits for visitors who want to surf, fish, windsurf, kiteboard, or walk the beaches.

On the barrier island, we are vulnerable to the winds from hurricanes, tropical storms, northeasters – all of which can bring us coastal flooding.

During November’s coastal storm, the islands had flooding from both the Atlantic Ocean and the Pamlico Sound. There were two soundside flooding events that were surprises.

The National Weather Service staff members will tour flood prone areas on Hatteras Island during their visit to get more familiar with the area, and they hope to gain "a local's perspective" on coastal flooding and other weather-related issues on the islands.

At the community forum, you can talk with Cullen and Kennedy about your concerns and what you need and want in your forecasts, and you can ask questions about the local office and its work.  You will also learn where you can ask your questions or contribute information during a storm.

In addition, they will also give an overview of the so-called Nor’Ida storm, and Kennedy will talk about a grant proposal he has submitted to enhance the interpretation of island weather at the historic National Weather Bureau Station in Hatteras village, which is owned by and was restored by the U.S. Park Service and is operated as a Welcome Center by the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau.

Brian Cullen is a senior forecaster at the NOAA/National Weather Service office in Newport/Morehead City. He has been with the National Weather Service since 1990 and served at Weather Forecast Offices in Taunton, Mass., and Wakefield, Va., before arriving at the Newport office during the fall of 2007.
Scott Kennedy is a general forecaster in Newport/Morehead City office. He has been with the National Weather Service since 2003 and served at the Weather Forecast Office in Monterey, Calif., before he came to the Newport office during the spring of 2006.

The community forum on forecasting our weather is free and open to the public.

You can find information on the local office and its forecasts online at http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/mhx/

If you have specific concerns you want to discuss, you can send questions ahead of time to [email protected].

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