URI to host hurricane awareness webinar for 5th grade classes throughout Northeast

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Event stems from URI’s Hurricane Science and Society website

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. – May 13, 2015 – Fifth grade classes from throughout the Northeast are invited to participate in a free webinar about hurricane awareness on May 26 that will include participation by experts from the National Hurricane Center and meteorologists who fly in “hurricane hunter” aircraft.

The one-hour webinar begins at 10 a.m. It is one of a series of webinars offered to fifth graders living in coastal states by URI in partnership with the National Hurricane Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Aircraft Operations Center.

To register for the webinar, teachers should visit registration.

“Our hurricane webinars allow students to get information and ask questions directly from their classrooms about hurricanes and hurricane preparedness,” said Chris Knowlton, assistant director of the Inner Space Center at URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography and a national leader in hurricane science education.

URI and the National Hurricane Center have been offering webinars to schoolchildren about hurricane awareness and preparedness since 2012. More than 25,000 students have participated.

The webinars stem from URI’s creation of the Hurricane Science and Society website – www.hurricanescience.org — which was launched in 2010 after several years of development. The site is a comprehensive, peer-reviewed educational resource with content on hurricane science, forecasting and models, hazards, and hurricane history. An interactive iBook, Hurricanes: Science and Society, was recently produced and made available in the iTunes store.

Knowlton returned Saturday from a weeklong Hurricane Awareness Tour of five cities in the Southeast. He flew from city to city in a C-130 aircraft, the planes that fly into hurricanes to collect data for making hurricane forecasts, and a G-IV, the smaller planes used to fly over and around hurricanes to gather additional hurricane data.

“We met hundreds of schoolchildren at every site, as well as the general public and emergency management agency officials, all of whom got to tour the planes and learn about hurricane science and the importance of preparing for this year’s hurricane season,” Knowlton said.

He said the hurricane hunters are not especially comfortable planes in which to travel because they are extremely noisy and the small fold-down seats are uncomfortable. “But it was a great experience to learn how they operate and meet the pilots,” he said. “And I enjoyed talking with the students and interacting with the public.”

Next year’s Hurricane Awareness Tour will visit cities on the Gulf Coast. And another round of student webinars will take place prior to the beginning of hurricane season.