Q&A with Prof. Duane Griffin

Sara Blair Matthews
News Editor

In the wake of Sandy’s aftermath, Duane Griffin, associate professor of geography, discussed the meteorological aspects of the storm.

Why wasn’t Hurricane Sandy as bad as anticipated?

“Actually, it followed the National Weather Service predictions pretty closely. We got less rain than we might have because the storm had a very unusual structure and sucked in a lot of dry air from Canada as it moved inland. That tempered the rainfall amounts. Also, the eye of the storm started falling apart as it moved inland, decreasing the pressure gradient, which is what drives the wind. We still had some high gusts. One of them snapped off a good-sized pine tree in the grove and a few others around campus. But otherwise, we were pretty lucky. ”

What was different about last year’s storm?  Why did so much flooding occur?

“Short answer: more rain last year, and a track that dumped more of that rain into the Susquehanna tributaries.”

Is Lewisburg more or less susceptible than the surrounding areas to flooding?

“It depends on what you mean by ‘surrounding areas.’ Since we’re on the river, we’re more susceptible than the areas away from it. We don’t have a flood wall or levee like Sunbury does, so we’re more susceptible than they are.”

Should we expect any other hurricanes coming our way in the near future or is the storm season pretty much finished?

“No idea. Every April, Colorado State University releases a seasonal hurricane forecast. They’ve got a decent track record, and they predicted 14 named Atlantic Storms this year. But Sandy was the 19th named storm this year, and the hurricane season runs through November. We’ll see. ”

Helpful resources to track hurricanes include nhc.noaa.gov and boatus.com/hurricanes.

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