Media Tip Sheet: Colorado State University Experts on Tornado Tragedy in Oklahoma

Note to Reporters: In the wake of the tornado in Oklahoma, on Monday, May 20, the following Colorado State University experts are available to talk with the media. The list is for reporter use only and is not intended for publication.


Early monitoring, detection and storm warning
Russ Schumacher, professor of Atmospheric Science, was in Oklahoma during the tornado, 50 miles from where the tornado hit. He was launching weather balloons to monitor and better understand morning atmospheric/environmental conditions and what happens later in the day that may lead to storm activity. Research will aid in earlier prediction of major meteorological events, including tornadoes. To speak with Schumacher, contact Susan Skog at (970) 491-5349 or

Improving building strength to withstand natural disaster
John W. van de Lindt, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has conducted research on building codes and construction specifications needed to help buildings better withstand natural disasters, including tornadoes. Van de Lindt  has worked in the aftermath of natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina. To speak with van de Lindt, contact Susan Skog at (970) 491-5349 or

Forecasting extreme weather, other meteorological events
Dan Lindsey, an atmospheric researcher with CSU’s Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, can talk about key forecasting factors for tornadoes such as moisture, low-pressure systems, clouds and supercells. To speak with Lindsey, contact Susan Skog at (970) 491-5349 or

Helping livestock and horses through a tornado emergency
Colorado State University veterinarians can comment on what horse owners can do to help their horses survive a disaster such as a tornado emergency, including offering some basic first-aid tips that may help stabilize the horses until veterinary assistance can arrive. To speak with an expert, please contact Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543 or

Hazardous materials and work conditions
CSU’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 talk with Sandfort, contact Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543 or

Social impacts of disaster
Lori Peek, assistant professor of sociology and co-director of the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis at Colorado State, is an expert in the social impacts of disaster. Peek has written two books on the impacts of Hurricane Katrina, and is a National Institute of Mental Health Disaster Research Fellow. She has conducted field research in New York City in the aftermath of 9/11 and the 2008 tornado in Windsor, Colo. In 2012, she was awarded a FEMA grant to study disaster preparedness in Colorado daycare centers. Peek can answer questions related to the emotional and social impacts of disaster on vulnerable populations including children, the elderly and the poor. She can also speak more broadly to recent national and global patterns regarding the prevalence of disaster events, the populations most affected and the long-term effects. To speak with Peek, contact Tony Phifer at (970) 491-7712 or (970) 217-6165, or

Real estate impact
Eric Holsapple, director of the Everitt Real Estate Center in the College of Business at Colorado State, can talk about the impact of the tornado on real estate markets in Oklahoma. To speak with Holsapple, contact Kate Jeracki at 970-491-2658 or