Rutgers Experts Can Discuss 2020 Hurricane Season Outlook in N.J.

New Brunswick, N.J. (May 19, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick experts are available for interviews on the 2020 hurricane season outlook in New Jersey, the Garden State’s vulnerability to hurricanes and tropical storms, and the state’s tropical cyclone history.

Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean runs from June 1 through November 30, although cyclones can form in other months, according to the National Hurricane Center. Tropical Storm Arthur formed on May 16, according to the hurricane center. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which includes the hurricane center, is scheduled to announce its 2020 Atlantic hurricane season outlook Thursday (May 21).

“While there are early indications of an active tropical season in the Atlantic Basin, this doesn’t necessarily mean New Jersey will receive a direct hit from or be sideswiped by one or more storms. Still, with more storms in the basin, the odds of a damaging blow are raised here and elsewhere. It is always smart to prepare in advance for the possibility of a storm and know how to respond should one threaten,” said David A. Robinson, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geography in the School of Arts and Sciences and New Jersey State Climatologist since 1991.

“If you’re near the coast, you should know evacuation routes and heed the warnings of local and state emergency management officials to evacuate,” Robinson said. “You do not want to remain in an area vulnerable to strong winds and storm surge. Inland residents should be prepared for power outages, possible river flooding and travel dangers, and must also be aware of watches and warnings. Finally, remember, even if the season turns out to be a quiet one, it takes only one storm to bring major problems to the Garden State.”

Karen M. O’Neill, an associate professor in the Department of Human Ecology in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, said that “with the COVID-19 crisis, it is even more important to track storms and act early to shelter in place or evacuate. Hotels that have downsized their staffs may be unable to accommodate you at short notice. Aid centers will have to set cots at larger physical distances between them and may be unable to take in as many people as usual. As you plan for the season, consider how you can continue to practice physical distancing, whether you stay or leave.”

Meteorologist Steve Decker, associate teaching professor and director of the Meteorology Undergraduate Program in the Department of Environmental Sciences, can discuss the ingredients that go into NOAA’s outlook for the Atlantic hurricane season. “The threat of hurricane activity affecting New Jersey is highest in August, September and October,” he said.

Robinson, who oversees the Rutgers NJ Weather Network and helps coordinate the New Jersey Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, is available to comment at david.robinson@rutgers.edu

O’Neill is available to comment at karen.oneill@rutgers.edu

Decker is available to comment at decker@envsci.rutgers.edu

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Broadcast interviews: Rutgers University has broadcast-quality TV and radio studios available for remote live or taped interviews with Rutgers experts. For more information, contact Neal Buccino at neal.buccino@echo.rutgers.edu

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