When a weather emergency threatens Delaware, the Office of the Delaware State Climatologist and the Delaware Geological Survey (DGS), both based at UD, are integral members of the team that rallies to deal with the potential crisis.
Whether it’s a hurricane, nor’easter or major snowstorm, weather emergencies in the First State usually prompt concerns about flooding, and that’s where these offices come into the picture.
In the case of an impending hurricane like Sandy in October 2012, the UD group gets involved in briefings and conference calls three or four days before the storm is expected to hit.
They use a variety of tools, including the Coastal Flood Monitoring System, as the basis for advising the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) about the potential for coastal flooding or inland flooding from streams.
If it appears that a storm is going to have a major impact on Delaware, DEMA’s Technical Assistance Center is activated, and the state’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is opened. At least two members of the UD team join the 50 to 100 other people staffing the EOC, including representatives from state agencies, utility companies and the Red Cross.
“I think we provide a pretty important resource for the state by helping answer questions about storm behavior, water levels in streams and coastal areas, and when those levels will peak,” says Delaware State Climatologist Dan Leathers. “We can’t change the weather, but we can help ensure that people are safe during extreme events.”