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Severe Weather Forum Set for April 23

Understanding weather trends and sharpening a collective response to severe events is the focus of a Thursday, April 23 public forum at SUNY Plattsburgh.

“Facing the Storm: Severe Weather Challenges Confronting New York State in the 21st Century” is a special program pairing a statewide broadcast and a follow-up local panel discussion. This innovating presentation and discussion brings together seven campuses including SUNY Plattsburgh through a unique video conference. 

Participants will watch a keynote presentation from the University at Albany beginning at 9:30 a.m. A local session focused on the Plattsburgh region will follow and conclude by 11:30 a.m. Panelists include Eric Day, director of Clinton County Office of Emergency Services, Scott Whittier, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in Burlington, Vt., and Tom Messner and John Hickey, meteorologists with WPTZ in Plattsburgh.

The event will be held in the Cardinal Lounge of the Angell College Center on campus. It is free and open to the public, with a particular benefit for first responders, government officials and academic leaders.

"Severe weather is a known and unavoidable hazard for many of us, especially in the North Country," said Mike Caraballo, emergency management director at SUNY Plattsburgh. "It is essential that appropriate preparedness efforts be taken. The severe weather forum will focus on weather trends across the state and provide us with data we can use to help assess risk. Emergency preparedness and mitigation planning are important steps for everyone to take as we work to reduce the impact of hazards, both financially and in terms of personal safety."

Unique geology and a long history of land use in the area, combined with increasing frequency of severe storms, present both challenges and opportunities for emergency management planning activities, said Mark Malchoff, Lake Champlain Sea Grant specialist at SUNY Plattsburgh.

“Flooding is the most common severe weather natural disaster to affect communities within the Lake Champlain Basin,” Malchoff said.

This marks the second year of a severe-weather-related spring program. Created by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, the University at Albany’s Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the New York State Emergency Management Association, the event will cover severe weather events of the past year and consider implications for the future. Probabilistic weather and climate forecasting will also be discussed as will aspects of communicating forecasts to the public.

Other satellite locations for local panels include SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry in Syracuse, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Potsdam and Stony Brook University. The technical assistance of Cisco makes the remote campus participation possible.

For questions and to learn more about the SUNY Plattsburgh event, contact Caraballo at 518-564-4950. 

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