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Virtual Agenda

2020 Virtual Session Agenda


When we made the decision to cancel the National Hurricane Conference for the first time in it’s 45-year history, little did we realize how devastating the virus would turn out to be for our nation.

Unfortunately, we all must still contend with the upcoming hurricane season.

Although the conference was cancelled, we believe our presenters have a wealth of good information to help you contend with the upcoming season. With that in mind, we have moved to a virtual outlet to allow our speakers to get their information out. The conference will be hosting these virtual sessions with the software. Click on the registration links below to register for our upcoming workshops and training sessions.




Monday, June 1, 2020


8:30 am – 10:00 am


Comparison of Dorian and Floyd Evacuations *RECORDING*

The threat posed by Hurricane Dorian created a number of similarities to that experienced in Hurricane Floyd in 1999 in terms of track, intensity and media response. This workshop will compare evacuation responses in the two storms in terms of criteria such as forecast products available and their accuracy, HURREVAC capabilities, interstate coordination, and evacuation outcomes (messaging, public response, road congestion, shelter use, etc.).


John Wilson, Chairman, National Hurricane Conference, Fort Myers, FL


Brandon Bolinski, Hurricane Program Manager, FEMA Region IV, Atlanta, GA

Andrew Sussman, Hurricane Program/Alert Florida Contract Manager, Florida Division of Emergency Management

Robert Collins, Florida Division of Emergency Management


10:30 am – 12:00 pm


Research on Evacuation Behavior in Recent Hurricanes *RECORDING*

Findings from university-based research before and/or following recent hurricanes, including Harvey, Irma, and Florence will be presented, documenting what people did and why, factors influencing evacuation decisions, and implications for anticipating and influencing future implications.


Jay Baker, Professor Emeritus, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL


“Evacuation in Hurricane Michael”Laura Myers, Center for Advanced Public Safety, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL

“Evacuation in Hurricane Harvey”Mike Lindell, Professor Emeritus, Texas A&M University, Seattle, WA

“Perceived Vulnerability and Evacuation in Hurricane Irma in Charlotte County, Florida”Tingting Zhao, Department of Geography, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL

“Do We Stay, or Do We Go? Geophysical and Social Influences on Evacuation Decision Making”Amy Polen, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL


1:30 pm – 3:00 pm


Research on Evacuation Traffic from Recent Hurricanes *RECORDING*

Findings from university-based research before and/or following recent hurricanes, that examines and evaluates wide-area traffic conditions to assess causes and extent of congestion and its implications for anticipating and lessening these effects in the future.


Brian Wolshon, Professor, Gulf Coast Research Center for Evacuation & Transportation Resiliency, Dept of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA


“Using Sensor Data to Estimate Quantities of ‘Stayers’ for Hurricane Dorian”Pamela Marie Murray-Tuite, Glenn Department of Civil Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC

“Proprietary Sourced Data to Assess Hurricane Evacuation Travel”Brian Wolshon, Professor, Gulf Coast Research Center for Evacuation & Transportation Resiliency, Dept of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA


3:30 pm – 5:00 pm


The Past, Present, and Future of HURREVAC  *RECORDING*

HURREVAC is the decision support tool of the National Hurricane Program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the NOAA National Hurricane Center (NHC) and maintained by Sea Island Software, the contractor tasked with development, operation, and maintenance of the program. HURREVAC combines live feeds of tropical cyclone forecast information with data from various state Hurricane Evacuation Studies (HES) to assist the local emergency manager in determining the most prudent evacuation decision time and the potential for significant storm effects from tropical cyclone hazards such as wind, storm surge and inland flooding from rainfall. In the last few years, the system was upgraded through a collaboration with FEMA, USACE, the NHC, DHS Science and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory (MIT-LL), and input from countless state, local and federal emergency managers. The resulting web-based platform, with new capabilities, visualizations, simulations, and data streams, was fully operational to support decision-makers for the 2019 hurricane season. During the response to Hurricane Dorian, there was a daily peak of more than 2,000 simultaneous user connections to HURREVAC. In this session, a diverse panel of users will discuss the past, present, and future of the program, as well as its operational use during the 2019 hurricane season. In addition, the panel will consider the potential new areas of innovation and change for HURREVAC.  


Christina Finch, National Hurricane Program Manager, FEMA


Daniel Brown, Senior Hurricane Specialist, National Hurricane Center, Miami, FL

Chris Moore

Marco Ciarla, National Hurricane Program Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore, MD



Tuesday, June 2, 2020


2020 General Session Part 1 *RECORDING*

9:00 am


John Wilson, Chairman, National Hurricane Conference, Fort Myers, FL

9:00 am

“Atlantic Basin Seasonal Hurricane Prediction and Initial Outlook for 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season”

Phil Klotzbach, Research Scientist, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO

9:45 am

Ken Graham, Director, National Hurricane Center, Miami, FL

10:15 am

Pete Gaynor, Administrator, FEMA, Washington, DC

11:00 am

“DORIAN from Ground Zero: Measuring & Surviving the Storm of the Century”

Josh Morgerman, Stormchaser, iCyclone, West Hollywood, CA


12:00 pm

Lunch Break


2020 General Session Part 2 *RECORDING*

1:30 pm

“Hurricane Dorian and 2020 – Surviving the Impossible, Responding”

Surviving the Impossible – Responding to the Unimaginable – Managing the Unmet Medical Needs of Hurricane Dorian


Michael Weston, President, SerVision Inc.


Melanie Wubs, RN BSN, Technical Specialist on the International Health Unit

Video: “Being the Hands and Feet of Jesus in the Bahamas”
Video: “COVID-19Prevention in the Bahamas”


Wednesday, June 3, 2020


10:30am – 12:00 pm

Meteorology Workshop

“Forecasting and Communication Successes and Challenges during the 2019 Hurricane Season” *RECORDING*

The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season provided several track and intensity forecast challenges, including the rapid intensification of Hurricane Dorian and uncertainty in that storm’s long-range forecasts and potential impacts to Florida.  Barry, Nestor, and Olga also provided a variety of challenges in communication hazards for developing and/or transitioning storms in the Gulf of Mexico.  Successes during the season included the accurate prediction of Barry’s development in the Gulf of Mexico, and the use of Storm Surge Products and Watches and Warnings to accurately convey risk along the east coast of Florida for Dorian. Tropical Storm Imelda’s development near the Texas coast and flooding rains also posed communication challenges. These successes and challenges will be discussed in this session and it will be followed by a moderated question and answer period.


Daniel Brown, Hurricane Specialist, National Hurricane Center

Robbie Berg, Hurricane Specialist, National Hurricane Center


“Overview of NHC’s 2019 Forecast Successes and Challenges”

Michael Brennan, Branch Chief Hurricane Specialist Unit, National Hurricane Center

“Success and Challenges of NHC Storm Surge Forecasts in 2019”

Jamie Rhome, Storm Surge Lead, National Hurricane Center

“Rainfall Forecasting in 2019 at the Weather Prediction Center”

Alex Lamers, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, Weather Prediction Center


1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

CONVERGE Training Modules: Free Online Education for Hazards Researchers and Practitioners *RECORDING*


Rachel Adams, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Natural Hazards Center & CONVERGE, University of Colorado Boulder

Haorui Wu, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Faculty of Health, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada



Thursday, June 4, 2020


10:30 am – 12:00 pm


“Communicating the Value of Flood Insurance Throughout Hurricane Season” *RECORDING*

Historically, there is a bump in flood insurance policy growth after major flooding events, including hurricanes and tropical storms. Research suggests that post-disaster demand for flood insurance peaks the week of a natural disaster and falls sharply shortly afterward. This is a limited and important timeframe to highlight the value of flood insurance to help close the insurance gap.

This presentation will help attendees understand how to strengthen their efforts to communicate the value of having flood insurance during hurricane season and all-year round. Panelists will highlight research showing the best time to market flood insurance prior, during and after storm flooding. Attendees will learn about the role and function of stakeholders or infomediaries (information infomediaries) to amplify their outreach and will be provided insights on how to engage and activate private sector, government and community leaders in hurricane risk mitigation communication efforts.

Attendees of this session will learn about:

  • How the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) supports marketing and outreach in communities before, during and after hurricanes and tropical storms using behavioral science, human-centered design and data analytics insights.
  • Growth of the private flood market and the coverage options it offers consumers.
  • Resources available to develop an outreach and communications plan that communicates the value of purchasing flood insurance and aligns with existing preparedness education and outreach priorities.
  • Insights on how to market to neighboring communities with an increased risk perception after a hurricane.
  • How to create opportunities to communicate the value of flood insurance and apply practical and actionable messaging insights that activate new stakeholders or existing stakeholders in new ways.
  • FEMA Regions are key partners in our marketing efforts, as their local knowledge infuses important context in the markets that receive paid advertising as well as infomediary, stakeholder and earned media outreach.


Butch Kinerney, Chief of Marketing and Outreach, National Flood Insurance Program


Jason Hunter, Branch Chief, Floodplain Management and Insurance Branch, FEMA Region 4

Mark Friedlander, Director, Corporate Communications, Insurance Information Institute

Caitlin Connor, Flood Strategy Coordinator, Johnson & Johnson Insurance

Marcus Coleman, National Flood Insurance Program Customer-Centered Communications Contractor, HWC


1:30 pm – 3:00 pm


 “Business Continuity and Insurance Work Together” *RECORDING*

Disasters of any type can be costly for businesses and even result in permanent closure, which can have a devastating economic impact on your area. According to FEMA, 40 percent of businesses never reopen after a disaster and another 25 percent fail within one year of reopening because of lack of preparation.

Fortunately, small businesses in your community can easily plan for potential disasters—both natural and manmade—which will help them avoid disruption and recover more quickly and easily. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) has created two disaster planning programs specifically to help businesses accomplish this goal.

Many businesses that have been impacted by a disruption find out afterwards that they did not have adequate insurance coverage, which can lead to permanent closure. With proper insurance coverage, it helps businesses be financially prepared to recover from hurricanes and other disasters.

The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) provides guidance on what essential insurance coverages small businesses should carry to protect their assets, as business disruption could cost them more $3,000 per day in lost revenue.

Attendees will leave this session learning:

  • How small businesses can identify their operation’s vulnerabilities during a disaster and develop strategies to overcome these challenges.
  • Where they can find available, free resources to develop business continuity and emergency preparedness and response plans. These guides help small businesses who don’t have professional risk managers or business continuity experience to easily understand what they need to do to prepare and the necessary steps to take to develop and implement these plans.
  • Why it’s essential that business owners meet with their insurance professional at least once a year, especially before hurricane season begins, to review their commercial insurance policy and ensure they are adequately protected to recover from hurricanes and other disasters, including floods and fires.


Gail Moraton, Business Resiliency Manager, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety

Mark Friedlander, Director, Corporate Communications, Insurance Information Institute


3:30 pm – 5:00 pm


“Preparing Your Community for Hurricane Season” *RECORDING*

Hurricanes can shatter lives and devastate communities. Preparing your community can help residents and business owners minimize the impact of the storm and limit the economic and social impacts on your municipality. The best time to start hurricane season preparedness is now, long before any threats are imminent. This informative workshop will focus on what community leaders in hurricane-prone areas need to know and key messages they should disseminate to local residents and business owners before the season begins:

  • Take steps to mitigate risks for your home and business– make simple repairs/clean-up of property.
  • Gather emergency supplies (have a minimum 14 days of non-perishable food and 1 gallon of drinking water per person per day; medications for all family members as well). Encourage residents to take advantage of your state’s tax-free hurricane supply purchasing period.
  • Take an inventory of your personal property – photos or videos of possessions will make it much easier to file an insurance claim after the storm.
  • Review your homeowners, auto and business insurance coverage with your insurance professional to ensure you have appropriate coverage in case of loss.
  • If you don’t already have it, ask your insurance professional about adding flood coverage to your home or business policy. Ninety percent of natural disasters involve flooding. You don’t need to live in a flood zone to incur flood damage from a storm.
  • Prepare evacuation routes well ahead of time. Make sure residents know how to quickly and safely escape your area of if evacuation orders are issued by emergency management officials.
  • Don’t forget about your community’s pets. When evacuating, many residents leave their pets behind because they have no place to take them. Make sure your local shelters will accept pets and provide information on hotels and motels that allow pets in guest rooms.


Mark Friedlander, Director, Corporate Communications, Insurance Information Institute

Scott Holeman, Director, Media Relations, Insurance Information Institute



Tuesday, June 9, 2020


1:00 pm – 2:30 pm


“Update on NHC’s Storm Surge Program” *RECORDING*

NHC Storm Surge Team Lead Jamie Rhome will discuss recent successes of the new NWS storm surge products and services, which include storm surge inundation mapping and a new NWS Storm Surge Watch and Warning.  Jamie will talk about how probabilistic guidance is used to develop the Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map and how the guidance is used to issue warnings to highlight areas at risk of life-threatening storm surge.  Jamie will discuss updates to storm surge modeling and plans to expand storm surge mapping into the Caribbean.


Daniel Brown, Hurricane Specialist, National Hurricane Center


“Success and Challenges of NHC Storm Surge Forecasts in 2019” Jamie Rhome –Storm Surge Team Lead, National Hurricane Center



Wednesday, June 10, 2020

10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Mass Care

“Defining a Pet and Animal Shelter Capability” *RECORDING*

A multi-agency workgroup has undertaken to define the capabilities required to address sheltering pets and animals. The intent in defining pet sheltering capabilities is to assist agencies in better understanding the kinds and quantities of resources necessary to deliver pet sheltering services at the level required to meet the needs of the community. The intended audience of this document includes National, State, Regional, and Local VOADs and federal, state, tribal, & local agencies with pet sheltering responsibilities in the event of a disaster. The Workshop will also work with the audience to identify additional pet and animal shelter issues, which can be addressed through collaboration.


Michael Whitehead, American Red Cross


Diane Robinson-Program Manager, Disaster Response Animal Rescue Team, The Humane Society of the United States

Josh Cary– NARSC Chair, National Director of Operations American Humane, Rescue, National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition