Principal Investigator: Howard A. Friedman
Collaborating Scientist: Diane J. Garcia
Objective: This project supports the World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) Tropical Cyclone Programme (TCP). The objective is to prepare, for publication, a generic international resource guide for the use of disaster preparedness and emergency management officials, and educators who will participate in creating awareness programs for the citizens of their respective tropical cyclone-prone nations.
Rationale: Literally millions of lives are affected each year and billions of dollars are lost as a result of tropical cyclones. During the period from 1980-1996, a total of 670 tropical cyclones, typhoons, and hurricanes occurred worldwide.

Over the past three decades significant advances have been made to prepare for and mitigate the damaging effects of tropical cyclones. Concerted international efforts have resulted in a better understanding of tropical cyclones. Technical advances in weather monitoring equipment now enable scientists to vigilantly monitor tropical cyclones as they form, track them as they move, and predict, with some accuracy, where they are likely to impact people and property.

While great strides have been made to understand and live with tropical cyclones, still more must be done. We must expand our basic knowledge, upgrade the tools needed for monitoring and prediction, improve the warning and communications systems, and strengthen meteorological services. The need for continued effort is reconfirmed by the deaths and destruction left in the wake of each tropical cyclone that affects populated areas today -- a problem that will undoubtedly increase as coastal populations continue to grow.

The goal of preventing loss of life and reducing property damage from tropical cyclones, however, cannot be achieved solely through improved meteorological services. Loss of life and property can only be minimized if officials and the general public are knowledgeable about the hazards faced, understand the warnings provided, and take the proper steps to protect life and property before, during, and after a tropical cyclone event. The process to achieve this state of readiness is accomplished with the help of an awareness program. The resource guide provides a framework for the development, modification, and implementation of local tropical cyclone awareness programs. The development of a resource guide as a website on the World-Wide Web, would make the information more accessible to a greater number of tropical cyclone-prone nations.

Method: The prototype for the resource guide is Tropical Cyclone Programme Project No. 14: A Resource Guide for United Nations Members of Tropical-Cyclone-Prone Regions (Friedman and Ressler, 1983). The original guide has been revised and updated. The Internet was used extensively to obtain up-to-date information on worldwide issues concerning tropical cyclones. The guide's design encourages interactive use by disaster preparedness and emergency management officials and educators. By providing questionnaires and checklists, officials and educators can assess the viability of their nation's or region's tropical cyclone awareness programs and, where appropriate, create new or modify existing programs. The chapters on tropical cyclone meteorology are being updated; and, an FAQ (frequently asked questions) section (after Landsea, 1997) is included as an appendix.
Accomplishments: A manuscript, Tropical Cyclone Awareness Programmes: Preparing for the Twenty-First Century, is nearing completion. The WMO has continued to express its interest in publishing the final manuscript. A paper describing the project has been accepted for presentation at the Seventh Symposium on Education- AMS, Phoenix,Arizona, January 11-16, 1998.
Other Work In Progress: An interactive website for hurricane awareness, to be used by educators and by the general public, is being planned. A grant proposal, to partially support this effort, was submitted to the Department of Community Affairs Division of Emergency Management in Tallahassee, Florida. If successful, funds would be used to develop a pilot project for the coastal counties of Florida. The website will contain material that supports and enhances the curriculum objectives of the State of Florida. The website will be used to increase knowledge of hurricanes as geophysical events and, to deal with socio-psychological aspects of the hurricane problem in Florida, including preparedness and mitigation issues. The program will include interactive lessons, quizzes, and simulations. The initial effort will be in English; later, Spanish and Haitian versions are envisioned.

If the program is successful, plans are to enhance the scope of the material on the website to include site specific examples of hurricane problems in coastal states westward along the Gulf of Mexico to Texas and along the Atlantic coast northward to Maine.

Key References:

Cook, R. A., and M. Soltani, eds., 1992: Hurricanes of 1992: Lessons Learned and Implications for the Future. Proceedings of a Symposium by the American Society of Civil Engineers, Dec. 1-3, 1993, New York, NY.

"Disaster Mitigation in Asia and the Pacific" Asian Development Bank, Manila, Philippines, 1991.

Elsberry, R. L., ed., 1995: Global Perspectives on Tropical Cyclones
Tropical Cyclone Programme, Report No. TCP