Weathering the Storm!

From our vulnerable coasts to the wide open spaces of mid-America, are we ready for the next big storm? That question and many others like it are the hot topics of conversation at the National Hurricane Conference that took place 3 weeks ago in New Orleans. Hundreds of disaster relief experts are examining America’s readiness to handle storms in the wake of Katrina and other natural disasters. John Van Pelt is the leader of The Storm Study project and is a severe weather expert. He tells us about the conference and gives us a first look at some of the new devices and technology that will help people plan, prepare and protect. For more information, go to More about John Van Pelt: John Van Pelt started the project in 1999. After having been a radio broadcaster as a ‘first’ career, he saw the awesome power of hurricanes for the first time in person when Hurricane David struck Myrtle Beach, SC in 1979. John anchored WKZQ radio’s coverage during landfall and reported during the aftermath. After Hurricane Floyd took so many lives in 1999 (most from vehicle related drownings) John began the StormStudy Project in earnest, with the goal of helping to save lives through proper severe weather education. Since then, the project’s outreach arm, The Storm Education Team, has appeared at countless public events and has been in tens of millions of households on worldwide TV every year. John is a ‘people person’ so a great deal of the team’s outreach is conducted on the streets, in parking lots and anywhere the team members go… The team has handed out thousands of its Severe Weather Safety cards over the years because John knows that it’s human nature to think “it won’t happen to me” and that a little handout and a quick “do you remember what happened last year!?” can go a long way in bringing home how crucial preparedness is. John has helped create preparedness plans for and consults businesses on severe weather safety. His passion for public safety and preparedness is 24/7/365 and with the other team members’ help has led to significant ground truth data getting to the National Weather Service & National Hurricane Center during storms.