University professors discuss hurricane preparedness

How students can be prepared as hurricane season enters its peak


Photo courtesy of NASA on Unsplash

Natalia Ribeiro, News Editor

Geoscience professors are speaking up and giving insights on making sure students are prepared. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 but peak season is between August into early October. 

Erik Johanson, assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences within the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science said having an emergency plan is an important part of being prepared in the event a hurricane approaches the state of Florida. Johanson said being aware of the university’s plan for hurricanes can help reduce anxiety and potentially save lives during an emergency.

“Plan for your safety first before planning for a hurricane party,” said Erik Johanson, assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences within Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. “Even if you are new to the university during a challenging time, you’re not alone.”

Part of being prepared means being aware if dorms will be emptied and what to do if you can’t go back home to family. The last time the university evacuated resident students due to a hurricane or tropical storm was in 2019 for Hurricane Dorian.  

“While hurricanes happen, we have been dealing with them successfully for many years in Southeast Florida,” said Ken H. Johnson, associate dean and assistant professor within the College of Business.

South Florida hasn’t been hit by a major hurricane since Hurricane Irma in 2017, but Johnson said it’s important to be on watch in case a hurricane does form and make landfall in the state.   

“Roughly 60% of all past hurricanes in Florida that are Category 3 or great[er], happen in the months of September and October,” Johnson said. 

Following Hurricane Andrew in 1992, building codes in Florida were updated to make sure structures are more resilient to hurricanes. Tiffany Roberts Briggs, associate professor in the Department of Geosciences within Charles E. Schmidt College of Science said mitigating the effects of hurricanes is critical for those living near coastal communities in Florida, as flooding is still a major issue.

“Areas more prone to direct hurricane impacts typically have more [strict] building codes,” said Briggs. 

Although South Florida has no impending tropical storms or hurricanes in route, students can make sure they are up to date by updating their contact settings on FAU Alert and the Owl Ready app. Students can also check out various resources that are provided by government agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Hurricane Center (NHC).   

For more information on the university’s hurricane experts, visit the FAU News Desk website

Natalia Ribeiro is the News Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories email [email protected] or tweet her @nataliar_99.