FSU faculty available to comment for 2024 hurricane season

| Thu, 05/16/24
Experts available to comment for hurricane season

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season is approaching.

The season runs from June 1 through November 30. This year’s forecast includes an above-average number of storms.

Florida State University faculty are leaders in the study of hurricanes and ways to mitigate their destruction. FSU scholarship has helped improve forecasting, evacuation planning, emergency management, understanding of the insurance market, public health measures and more.

FSU faculty members are available to answer media questions and provide perspective for news stories throughout the 2024 hurricane season and beyond.

Five faculty members participated in a virtual news briefing about the upcoming hurricane season.


Mark Bourassa, professor of meteorology and associate director of the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies

mbourassa@fsu.edu, (850) 644-6923

Bourassa uses on-site and remote (aircraft and satellite-based) observations as well as meteorological models to research air-sea interactions and how satellites measure what is happening on Earth’s surface. He is an expert on the network of global meteorological and oceanographic observations that inform forecasts, and the identification of tropical disturbances, which are possible precursors to tropical cyclones. Bourassa is also a team leader for the NASA Ocean Vector Wind Science Team.

David Zierden, state climatologist; associate in research, Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies

dzierden@coaps.fsu.edu, (850) 644-3417

Zierden’s research focuses on climate variability in Florida, particularly as it is affected by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation climate patterns. He studies how forecasting can be applied to industries including agriculture, forestry and water resources.


Pedro L. Fernández-Cabán, assistant professor, FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, Resilient Infrastructure and Disaster Response (RIDER) Center

plfernandez@eng.famu.fsu.edu, (850) 410-6251

Fernández-Cabán’s research couples laboratory and field experiments to assess the structural performance of civil infrastructure during windstorm events. His recent work focuses on developing state-of-the-art machine learning models to predict hurricane wind fields and their interaction with coastal landscapes. Fernández-Cabán’s research leverages ground-level anemometric datasets collected during landfalling hurricanes and advanced wind tunnel techniques to better model the impact of coastal storms on civil infrastructure.

Marcia Mardis, professor and associate dean for research, College of Communication and Information mmardis@fsu.edu, (850) 644-3392

In the wake of Hurricane Michael, which hit Florida’s Panhandle in 2018, Mardis partnered with rural public libraries and county governments on projects that developed libraries as community resources for responding to natural disasters. The work, which is being completed with grants from the National Science Foundation Civic Innovation Challenge and the Institute for Museum and Library Services, will improve understanding of emergency response operations and contribute to disaster-related policies and plans for rural public libraries and their communities.

Holly Hanessian, professor and head of ceramics concentration, College of Fine Arts


Hanessian is a member of the International Academy of Ceramics who has taught, lectured and exhibited projects and sculptural artworks in the United States and internationally. Her works include several art-based social practice projects, including a Hurricane Emergency Art Kit that is designed to address both the physical and mental health of hurricane victims and provide items such as a mini water filter, books and small ceramic art pieces. The Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale will present Hanessian’s work at a hurricane preparedness event on June 1.


David Merrick, director of the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Program; director of the Center for Disaster Risk Policy

dmerrick@fsu.edu, Office: (850) 644-9961, Cell: (850) 980-7098

Merrick has worked in state emergency management for more than 19 years in roles including planning, external affairs and air operations. He developed and oversees the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Program’s Disaster Incident Research Team, which deploys to disaster impact areas to perform field research on disaster and emergency management. This team has deployed to disasters such as hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Michael and Ian to assist state and local agencies, perform data collection and complete research projects. His research interests include emergency management planning and policy, remote sensing and unmanned aircraft systems and information technology in emergency management.


Shi-Ling Hsu, D’Alemberte Professor, College of Law

shsu@law.fsu.edu, (850) 644-0726

Hsu is an expert in the areas of environmental and natural resource law, climate change law, economics and property. He has published in a variety of legal journals, co-authored the casebook Ocean and Coastal Resources Law and has appeared on the American Public Media radio show "Marketplace.” Before entering academia, he was a senior attorney and economist for the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C. He teaches the class Property and Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Climate Change.

Erin Ryan, Elizabeth C. and Clyde W. Atkinson Professor and associate dean for Environmental Programs

eryan@law.fsu.edu, (850) 645-0072

Ryan specializes in environmental governance and environmental, water, property and land use law and oversees the Center for Environmental, Energy, and Land Use Law at the FSU College of Law. She has appeared in the Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, Foreign Policy, Huffington Post, London Financial Times, National Public Radio, Thomson-Reuters Beijing, and local NBC and CBS Television News.


Eren Ozguven, associate professor, FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, director of the Resilient Infrastructure and Disaster Response (RIDER) Center, and associate director of Rural Equitable and Accessible Transportation (REAT) Center

eozguven@eng.famu.fsu.edu, (850) 410-6146

Ozguven directs the Resilient Infrastructure and Disaster Response Center, which promotes all-inclusive and equitable disaster resilience for vulnerable populations. His research interests include transportation accessibility, modeling of emergency evacuation operations, artificial intelligence and the simulation of transportation networks. Recent scholarship focuses on the relationships among different infrastructure networks in Florida and how that contributes to disaster preparation.

Maxim A. Dulebenets, associate professor and graduate program director, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

mdulebenets@eng.famu.fsu.edu, (850) 410-6621

Dulebenets’ research mainly focuses on operations research and optimization. His research group has developed efficient algorithms that can be used to schedule large-scale evacuations in preparation for major natural hazards. His models capture realistic features of emergency evacuation planning, including potential impacts of evacuation settings on evacuees themselves. His recent studies propose new types of optimization models and solution algorithms for emergency evacuation planning under pandemic settings, considering a higher risk of virus spread in overcrowded emergency shelters.


Patricia Born, Payne H. & Charlotte Hodges Midyette Eminent Scholar in Risk Management & Insurance

pborn@business.fsu.edu, (850) 644-7884

Born studies the insurance market structure and performance, professional liability, health insurance and the management of catastrophic risks, such as hurricanes and other natural disasters. She is a past president of the American Risk and Insurance Association and the Risk Theory Society.

Charles Nyce, Robert L. Atkins Associate Professor of Risk Management & Insurance and chair of the Risk Management/Insurance, Real Estate & Legal Studies Department

cnyce@fsu.edu, (850) 645-8392

Nyce’s research focuses on catastrophic risk financing. He has written numerous articles on risk management and insurance topics, including title insurance, enterprise risk management, predictive analytics and natural hazards.


Mathew Hauer, assistant professor, Department of Sociology and Center for Demography and Population Health

mehauer@fsu.edu, (850) 644-7103

Hauer studies the impacts of climate change on society. Recent work has focused on how migration caused by sea level rise could reshape the population distribution in the United States in costly and permanent ways. His research has been featured in CNN, The New York Times, The Nation and other publications.

Chris Uejio, associate professor, Department of Geography


Uejio studies how the physical environment influences human health and well-being. He frequently helps health departments understand and adapt to climate change. His recent research includes investigations of extreme heat, disasters and health, climate change adaptation and diseases carried in water or by mosquitoes. Uejio has been quoted in the Orlando Sentinel, Tampa Bay Times and other news outlets about public health issues, including hurricanes.


Tim Chapin, professor of urban and regional planning and dean of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy

tchapin@fsu.edu, (850) 644-5488

Chapin studies urban planning, community planning, resilience and post-disaster redevelopment. He has researched the effectiveness of Florida’s growth management system and is an expert on land development, comprehensive planning and state versus local roles in managing growth.

Tisha Joseph Holmes, assistant professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning


Holmes’ research focuses on disaster preparedness and planning for recovery in underserved and rural contexts, with a particular focus on populations with racial and ethnic minorities who face income constraints, have access and functional needs and face health inequities.

Dennis Smith, planner in residence, Department of Urban and Regional Planning


Smith is the director of the Mark & Marianne Barnebey Planning & Development Lab, which uses the academic and professional resources of Florida State University to connect with public and private partners to provide capacity and innovative planning for the sustainable growth and long-term viability of Florida communities. His work has focused on risks to the built environment, including projects for resiliency, transportation modeling, evacuation planning for high-risk areas and vulnerability assessment. He has extensive experience managing state and federal programs and a thorough knowledge of laws relating to land use, transportation and disaster recovery.


Thomas Miller, professor, Department of Biological Science

miller@bio.fsu.edu, (850) 644-9823

Miller researches coastal dune vegetation and the forces that influence plant communities on barrier islands, especially in the northern Gulf of Mexico. He has been conducting a long-term study of the vegetation at several locations to isolate the effects of hurricanes, drought, geomorphology and succession on both the vegetation living on dunes and the structure of the dunes themselves.