Media Tip Sheet: Colorado State University Experts on Superstorm Sandy and Relief Efforts

Note to Reporters: The following Colorado State University experts are available to discuss hurricanes and relief efforts in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. This tip sheet is intended as a media resource only and is not intended for publication.

Disaster recovery

Mold affecting buildings, health
Doug Rice, senior researcher and director of the university’s Environmental Quality Laboratory, has been recruited to help with the relief efforts occurring along the Eastern seaboard in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Rice has been an expert witness for mold and mold remediation in New Orleans courts and has participated in more than 50 court cases in Louisiana and other locations. An international mold consultant for nearly 20 years, Rice has worked with various industries, including health, insurance, construction and legal, to address mold remediation. He has examined 15 hotels in New Orleans and several hotels in Biloxi for mold issues. He also has worked within hospitals, apartment and condominium buildings, manufacturing facilities, health care and nursing facilities, universities, office buildings and individual homes. To speak with Rice, contact Emily Wilmsen at or (970) 491-2336.

Helping socially vulnerable populations
Lori Peek, associate professor of sociology, is co-director of CSU’s Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis. She’s also associate chair of the Social Science Research Council Task Force on Hurricane Katrina and Rebuilding the Gulf Coast. Her work focuses on socially vulnerable populations – including children, women, racial and ethnic minorities, and persons with disabilities – in disaster. She has co-edited a book on the recovery from Hurricane Katrina, Displaced: Life in the Katrina Diaspora. She’s currently on sabbatical in New York City, studying at Columbia University. To speak with Lori, contact Tony Phifer at or (970) 491-7712.

Hazardous materials and work conditions
The university’s Health and Safety Consultation program within the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences was one of the first state consulting programs OSHA called to New York City to assist after 9/11. Director Del Sandfort can talk about the dangers of fumes, noise and other environmental stressors for rescue crews. His program has received federal funding since 1977 to help conduct risk assessments for Colorado small businesses with fewer than 250 employees or corporations with fewer than 500 total employees. The program received another annual $1 million renewal in 2012. To speak with Sandfort, contact Emily Wilmsen at or (970) 491-2336.

Microgrids to help disaster relief
Sid Suryanarayanan, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Colorado State University, is conducting cutting-edge research on electric microgrids, which hold the promise of aiding disaster relief efforts and enhancing power system reliability. To speak with Suryanarayanan, contact Emily Wilmsen at or (970) 491-2336.

Hurricane prediction and behavior

Hurricane forecasting
William Gray, professor emeritus of Atmospheric Science, has been forecasting hurricanes for 29 years. Gray and his research associate, Phil Klotzbach, are available to talk about hurricane forecasting and the prevalence of hurricanes that hit the U.S. coasts including the East Coast. To speak with Gray or Klotzbach, contact Emily Wilmsen at or (970) 491-2336.

Storm surge modeling
Don Estep, professor of Statistics and Mathematics, can talk about his new $550,000 grant from NSF to help develop more predictive computer models of the ocean, including the impact of storm surge during a hurricane. To speak with Estep, contact Emily Wilmsen at or (970) 491-2336.

Hurricane modeling
Mark DeMaria, a NOAA research meteorologist based at Colorado State University’s Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, can talk about models he and his team have developed that are used by the National Hurricane Center, particularly with regard to intensity and storm track forecasts for tropical storms. To speak with DeMaria, contact Emily Wilmsen at or (970) 491-2336.

Hurricane images from satellites
Natalie Tourville, research meteorologist in the Department of Atmospheric Science, can talk about how scientists track storms such as Hurricane Sandy through images produced by CloudSat, the world’s first cloud-profiling orbiting radar developed in part at CSU. To speak with Tourville, contact Emily Wilmsen at or (970) 491-2336.

Levee research
Chris Thornton, director of the Civil and Environmental Engineering department’s Engineering Research Center, has unique expertise that is assisting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with assessing and protecting levees from New Orleans to Jacksonville, Fla. This summer, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans accepted applications from companies interested in using engineered erosion-control products to reinforce levees in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. As part of the application process, the Army Corps required any interested companies to seek independent testing of their products at Colorado State. To speak with Thornton, contact Emily Wilmsen at or (970) 491-2336.