Media Briefing:
Hurricane Forecasts and Warnings

Panelist Biographies

Dr. Rebecca Morss

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Dr. Rebecca Morss is senior scientist and interim director of the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Laboratory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. She is an expert in weather forecasting systems and risk communication, with an emphasis on high-impact weather including hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes. Her research focuses on the communication and interpretation of weather-related risks, the use of information in decision making, and weather hazard prediction and predictability. Dr. Morss has served in multiple national and international leadership roles, including on several U.S. National Academies committees and as an elected councilor of the American Meteorological Society. Dr. Morss received a Ph.D. in atmospheric science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Dr. Scott J. Weaver

Dr. Scott J. Weaver is director of the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP) in the Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dr. Weaver also holds an appointment as adjunct associate professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science at the University of Maryland, and he is a member of the NIST team that is conducting a multi-year scientific study of Hurricane Maria’s impacts on Puerto Rico. Dr. Weaver currently chairs the NWIRP Windstorm Working Group, a federal interagency partnership that carries out coordination and implementation of the NWIRP program. He received a B.S. in Meteorology from Rutgers University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science from the University of Maryland.

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Dr. Joannes Westerink

Dr. Joannes Westerink is the Joseph and Nona Ahearn Professor in Computational Science and Engineering and Henry J. Massman Department Chairman at the University of Notre Dame College of Engineering. He develops unstructured mesh, multi-scale, multi-physics hydrodynamic codes and models for the coastal ocean and transitions these to practitioners for a wide range of applications. His laboratory has pioneered the use of global to channel scale coastal ocean models with mesh resolution varying by up to four orders of magnitude. Dr. Westerink earned B.S and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Rick Weiss (moderator)

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Rick Weiss is the Director of SciLine.

He has more than three decades of experience in journalism and public affairs, including 15 years as a science reporter at the Washington Post and more than a decade leading strategic communications and media relations activities around issues of science and technology in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. While at The Post, Rick wrote more than 1,000 news and feature articles about advances in science and technology and their economic, societal, and ethical implications. His awards include the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing’s Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting and the National Association of Science Writers’ Science and Society Award.

Rick earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Cornell University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, and holds a license in medical technology with the American Society for Clinical Pathology. He lives in Takoma Park, Maryland, with his wife Natalie Angier, the New York Times science writer and author.


About This Media Briefing

Dorian, Barry, Florence – these and other recent hurricanes have wreaked havoc on communities across the United States, and human-induced climate change is only increasing the likelihood of destruction from such storms. SciLine’s September 23rd media briefing covered: how scientists are working to reduce uncertainty in hurricane and storm surge forecasting; the challenge of measuring actual rainfall and windspeeds during a storm and what this means for infrastructure; and advances in risk communication and warnings for people in the path of a storm.