Rice University experts available to discuss Tropical Storm Isaac

David Ruth

Amy Hodges

HOUSTON — (Aug. 27, 2012) — Rice University faculty experts are available to comment on a variety of topics as the Gulf Coast prepares for Tropical Storm Isaac.

Currently, Isaac is expected to turn into a hurricane with the possibility of reaching category 1 or 2 before making landfall. Multiple models show the storm eventually making landfall in Louisiana or Mississippi.

Rice experts can discuss hurricane evacuees and the political, criminal, educational and health care effects caused by their sudden dispersion; the hurricane’s impact on the energy sector; the effect of flooding during the storm and the historical impact and memories of hurricanes in the Gulf Coast region.

Phil Bedient, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of Rice’s Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters Center (SSPEED), can discuss the effect of flooding during hurricanes. He is the creator of the Web-based Flood Alert System (FAS3), which uses a free mapping service provided by Google to enable users to see how much flooding will occur in the next 60-90 minutes.

Douglas Brinkley, a fellow in history at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and a professor of history, is the author of “The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast” and appeared in Spike Lee’s “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.” He can comment on the historical impact of hurricanes in the Gulf Coast region.

Vivian Ho, chair of health economics at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and professor of economics, can discuss how low-income evacuees fleeing to Houston represent a significant long-term burden to the city’s health care system. She can also discuss the health issues evacuees face upon displacement. She co-authored the study, “Physical and Mental Health Status of Hurricane Katrina Evacuees in Houston in 2005 and 2006.” The study is available at http://bakerinstitute.org/publications/HPF-pub-HPRKatrina-091409.pdf.

Stephen Klineberg, professor of sociology and co-director of Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, can discuss hurricane evacuees and the political, criminal, educational and health care effects caused by their sudden dispersion. He can also talk about the impact of the Katrina experience on the psyches of Houstonians and data about the hurricane’s impact collected through the Houston Area Survey.

Ken Medlock, a fellow in energy and resource economics at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and adjunct assistant professor of economics, can discuss the effects of Tropical Storm Isaac on the energy infrastructure, including what can happen to gasoline prices around the country when refining infrastructure is forced to be down for an extended time.

Satish Nagarajaiah, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University, is available for news media interviews about the threat Tropical Storm Isaac poses to offshore drilling platforms. On Sunday Chevron, Shell, BP and Anadarko began evacuations and started shutting down their operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

For more information or to schedule an interview with Bedient, Brinkley, Ho, Klineberg, Medlock or Nagarajaiah, contact David Ruth at 713-348-6327 or david@rice.edu.


This news release can be found online at http://news.rice.edu/2012/08/27/rice-university-experts-available-to-discuss-tropical-storm-isaac/.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.

Related materials:

Phil Bedient bio: http://bedient.rice.edu/

Douglas Brinkley

Douglas Brinkley bio: http://www.bakerinstitute.org/personnel/fellows-scholars/dbrinkley

Vivian Ho bio: http://www.bakerinstitute.org/personnel/fellows-scholars/vho

Stephen Klineberg bio: http://sociology.rice.edu/Content.aspx?id=122

Ken Medlock bio: http://www.bakerinstitute.org/personnel/fellows-scholars/kmedlock

Satish Nagarajiah

Satish Nagarajaiah bio: http://ceve.rice.edu/Content.aspx?id=82

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About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.