2008 National Hurricane Conference Gets Underway

As March goes out like a lion instead of a lamb throughout a good deal of the United States, some other parts of the country are thinking ahead. Take for instance what is happening this week in Orlando, Florida. During the course of the week, the National Hurricane Conference will be taking place in the heart of Central Florida like it does almost every year. The schedule has the conference running from today, March 31 through Friday, April 4th. View the conference program for the complete schedule of events, amenities, exhibits, and sponors.

Believe it or not everyone, the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season is slated to begin on June 1st, which as of tomorrow (April 1st), will be only two months away. Forecasters are already indicating that this season will be another above average one, but the actual forecast numbers have been tempered a bit. Max Mayfield, former director of the National Hurricane Center, and now a tropical analyst for WPLG (ABC 10), an ABC affiliate , is the Chair of the Conference this year. Mayfield recently made news along with famed South Florida and Hurricane forecaster, Bryan Norcross from KFOR (CBS4), a CBS affiliate, by developing a emergency warning system that was sold not to long ago to a private firm. The Opening General Session is scheduled for Wednesday, April 2nd. The festivities that day will begin with new NHC director, Bill Read, giving an overview of this past season (2007).

FEMA will then follow with a presentation by director, Dave Paulison, who will discuss Building Stronger Hurricane Emergency Management through Engaged Partnerships: the FEMA Perspective. More speakers and presentations will be made before the session is wrapped up by NHC forecaster and analyst, Lixion Avila, who will discuss the impacts of the two most powerful Atlantic storms of 2007: Hurricane Dean and Hurricane Felix. Both of these storms reached Category Five Intensity before making landfall in the Yucatan and Central America respectively back during August and September 2007. Throughout the week, there will be seminar’s, workshops, and training sessions for those attending the conference.

Most importantly though, it is a chance for the experts in the fields of weather forecasting, government, emergency management, and the media to all get together, and discuss issues that still concern many affected by tropical storms and hurricanes every year. In addition, it is also an opportunity for individuals in these disciplines to establish new relationships and connections as well as renew long standing ones. With the very active cycle still going strong after the above average numbers from last season, conferences like these are definitely a great way to get the word out to the public that it is time to get prepared for the upcoming season.