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Collecting Irene's Wind, Rain and Storm Surge Data


Katie Mosher, 919/270-4962,

Posted Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011

North Carolina Sea Grant will be working with varied partners to monitor the wind, rain and storm surge that may come to the state with Hurricane Irene. “Measuring the conditions is the only way to separate hurricane fact from tall tales. Fortunately we have gotten a lot better at measuring conditions over the last 10 years,” notes Spencer Rogers, Sea Grant’s coastal erosion and construction specialist.


Rogers is working with the U.S. Geological Survey and researchers from the University of Notre Dame, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute and the University of Oklahoma to deploy gauges and other devices to record rain, wave heights and storm surge.

Rogers is working closely with the multi-agency Coastal and Inland Flooding Observation and Warning team — known as CI-FLOW — led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Severe Storms Lab. CI-FLOW measures the inland rainfall that fills streams and rivers and then meets the storm surge in the sounds spurred by wind and rain.

While still in the research mode for the forecasting models, the CI-FLOW partners include local, state and national forecasters and emergency managers, as well as university and NOAA researchers and staff members from several Sea Grant programs. “The goal is to improve forecasting during coastal storms,” explains Jack Thigpen, North Carolina Sea Grant extension director.

Rogers also is assisting teams from Clemson University, the University of Florida and others in finding North Carolina sites for towers and other instrumentation to measure wind speeds. A Clemson tower measured wind from Hurricane Isabel that hit North Carolina in 2003, when the tower happened to be at the center of maximum winds. “It could not have been placed better,” Rogers says. 

For more info on CI-FLOW, go to:

A short video about CI-FLOW is here:

Read about CI-FLOW in a Coastwatch storyCI-FLOW: Partnerships Enhance Flood Forecasting


NOTE TO MEDIA: For more information about storm research efforts and to reach Spencer Rogers, contact Katie Mosher at 919/270-4962 or

North Carolina Sea Grant: Your link to research and resources for a healthier coast