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Tip Sheet

Not for publication

Sept.16, 2004 -- No. 415

UNC faculty experts can help reporters
with hurricane-related issues

Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are available to discuss the possible effects of hurricane-related topics.

Dr. Margaret S. Miles, a professor at UNCís School of Nursing, has much experience studying and dealing with the mental health of natural disaster survivors and grief associated with the loss of family members. She participated as a volunteer in helping citizens of Grifton, N.C., following Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and earlier was involved during the rescue operation of the Hyatt Hotel Collapse in Kansas City and in the mental health follow-up of the disaster. She can speak about the three phases of disaster -- pre-impact, impact and post-impact -- and how to help survivors cope with their resulting psychological reaction, including disillusionment in having lost an old way of life and reconstruction in moving forward. Miles may be reached at (919) 618-0086 or

Dr. Charles E. Konrad, associate professor of geography in UNCís College of Arts and Sciences, studies climate, including hurricanes. He is especially interested in the relationship between atmospheric patterns such as circulation and moisture and weather events such as heavy rainfall, snowstorms, tornadoes and high winds. His work, which focuses on scales ranging from planetary events to local conditions, can be applied to weather forecasting. He can be reached at (919) 962-3873 (office) or 380-1695 (home).

Dr. Peter Robinson, professor of geography, also studies weather. Last year, after analyzing a centuryís worth of weather data across North Carolina, he concluded that the most intense hurricanes to strike the state were not associated with the worst flooding. Instead, they resulted from lingering tropical storms, back-to-back storms and even melting snow. He can be reached at (919) 962-3875 (office) or 967-6225 (home).

Dr. Hans Paerl
, William R. Kenan professor at UNCís Institute of Marine Sciences, studies the nutrient production dynamics of aquatic microbes within coastal food webs, focusing on environmental controls of algal production. He leads the UNC Institute of Marine Sciencesí Microbial Ecology-Nutrient Cycling Laboratory. Paerl has led several studies to examine the short- and longer-term effects of hurricanes Dennis, Floyd and Irene on N.C. estuaries and the Pamlico Sound. He also heads a National Science Foundation Microbial Observatory study on long-term climatic effects on the microbial ecology and overall condition of lakes on San Salvador Island, Bahamas, which is located directly in the Atlantic "hurricane track" and was devastated this week by Hurricane Frances, a study of which he has just begun. He can be reached at (252) 723-9082 (cell) or

David J. Brower, research professor in UNCís department of city and regional planning, researches growth management, coastal zone management, mitigating the impacts of natural hazards, sustainable development and environmental ethics. Besides research and teaching, Brower has worked extensively with local governments (especially on N.C.ís Outer Banks), state governments and international governments (including Caribbean nations). He is co-author of "Catastrophic Coastal Storms: Hazard Mitigation and Development Management." Brower can be reached at (919) 962-4775 or

Dr. Seth Reice, associate professor of biology, is the author of "The Silver Lining: The Benefits of Natural Disasters," which details how storms, volcanoes, earthquakes, floods and other apparently catastrophic events renew life and boost diversity in ecosystems throughout the world, often making them better for people and other species. His research has focused on streams and the effect of natural disturbances on environments viewed as stable. He can be reached at (919) 962-1375 or

Joanne Caye, clinical assistant professor at UNCís School of Social Work, has extensive expertise on addressing the reactions of people who have experienced trauma. She and colleagues conducted several workshops in eastern North Carolina after Hurricane Floyd on how families coped with disasters and tragedy. She can be reached at (919) 962-3598 or

Dr. James Fraser, urban geographer and senior research associate with UNCís Center for Urban and Regional Studies, is principal investigator for a project, "Relocation and Decision-making of Natural Disaster Victims," which centers on buyout programs through which states purchase flood-prone homes from willing sellers. One of the issues addressed in the project is why some homeowners choose to participate in such programs and some donít. Four hundred people living in 100-year floodplains in Kinston and Greenville, N.C., San Antonio, Tex., and Grand Forks, N.D., were interviewed by phone in one project component. Fraser can be reached at (919) 962-6835.

Dr. Laurence B. Rosenfeld, professor of communication studies, is an expert on interpersonal and family communication. He is a nationally certified trainer of "helpers" -- people who go in after disasters to help victims like those who responded following Hurricane Floyd. He will have a book appear in November on aiding people in managing the effects of disasters. Call him at (919) 962-4947 (office) or 280-7062 (cell).

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News Services Contact: David Williamson, (919) 962-8596 (work), 732-2991 (home)