Media Tip Sheet: How Coastal Areas can Better Respond and Prepare for Hurricanes

Five Years After Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico and other Coastal Communities Are Still Not Prepared

September 20, 2022

WASHINGTON (Sept. 19, 2022)--Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico this past weekend leaving widespread power outages, heavy rain and damage to infrastructure. It’s been five years since Hurricane Maria barreled into the island, yet researchers at the George Washington University who released the official death toll and report in the aftermath of Maria say the island, and other coastal areas of the United States are still not prepared for the extreme weather of climate change.

The George Washington University has researchers who can talk about the situation in Puerto Rico and ways cities and coastal areas around the world can do a better job responding to extreme weather and preparing for it ahead of time.

To interview a GW researcher, please contact Kathy Fackelmann, [email protected] or GW Media, [email protected].

Carlos Santos-Burgoa, a professor of global health, can talk about the progress Puerto Rico has made in the five years since Maria as well as areas that still need to be addressed. Santos Burgoa was the lead researcher on the landmark report GW researchers released after Hurricane Maria.

Lynn Goldman, Dean of the GW Milken Institute School of Public Health, can talk about disaster preparedness and response. She was a co-author on the GW report to assess the death toll and make recommendations after Hurricane Maria.

Sabrina McCormick, associate professor of environmental and occupational health, has done research looking at how well cities and other coastal areas are prepared for extreme weather like hurricanes. She can discuss what other coastal areas should be doing to prepare now for extreme weather.

Payman Dehghanian, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, is an expert on modern power grids and conducts research on electrical power systems engineering. His specific areas of interest include power system reliability assessments and asset management tools, power system resilience enhancement and weather-driven modeling.

Jonathan Deason is a professor of environmental and energy management and Director of GW’s Environmental and Energy Management Institute who focuses on climate change and sustainability. His expertise includes all aspects of air quality management, including greenhouse gas management, and implications for global climate change mitigation and adaptation.