ETSU plays critical role in state mitigation plan

Published 9:52 am Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Continuous downpours in August 2021 created catastrophic flooding.
The wildfires that raged in November 2016 scorched more than 90,000 acres.
And the tornadoes that roared through in 2011 left several dead.
Natural disasters occur on occasion in the Volunteer State, and having thorough plans in place to help minimize the destruction is critical.
East Tennessee State University is playing an important role on this front.
Earlier this month, the state of Tennessee announced that the 2023 Tennessee State Hazard Mitigation Plan had earned formal approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“This report provides the most current understanding of risk and vulnerability for 15 of the highest impact hazards across the state,” said ETSU’s Dr. Andrew Joyner. “That ETSU got to play a crucial part in this process is so impressive.”
A member of the Department of Geosciences, Joyner is the state’s official climatologist. Because the university houses the state’s climate office, ETSU is playing an outsized role in climate research.
On this project, seven faculty and staff members, four graduate students and one undergraduate all contributed. Those are:
Wil Tollefson, assistant state climatologist
Dr. Joseph Harris, director of Emergency and Disaster Planning in the Geoinformatics and Disaster Science Lab at ETSU
Ingrid Luffman, associate professor
Emmanuel Afriyie, graduate student
Fatimah Olawuyi, former graduate student
Dr. Arpita Nandi, department chair
Josh Smith, undergraduate student
Matthew Beer, chief public health officer for climate office and graduate student
Dr. Megan Quinn, associate professor
Tristan Holmes, chief mesonet officer for climate office and graduate student
Dr. Eileen Ernenwein, assistant professor
From developing and finalizing maps to analyzing climate trends, each contributed significantly to the project.
“Not only did this project generate hands-on learning opportunities for students, but it demonstrates the real-world impact our university is having on the region and beyond,” Joyner said.

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