It’s a year after Hurricane Sandy devastated New York and New Jersey. And while Maryland was lucky enough to suffer relatively few effects from the storm, the anniversary is a grave reminder that natural disasters are here to stay. But the good news is, we’ve got science (or scientists, rather) on our side. Seth Guikema, a professor at Johns Hopkins recently received a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study the effects of repeated battering by storms (our guess: the effects aren’t good) and to develop ways to improve our ability to withstand them.
Since this is a pretty big task, other local institutions (Georgetown, George Mason, and even MICA) will be collaborating with Hopkins on the project, which will examine the impact of storms on everything from land use to individual behavior to public policy. Ultimately, the researchers plan to build a model that public officials (both here in the Mid-Atlantic, and elsewhere) can use to predict and plan for the effects of natural disasters. Sound ambitious? Perhaps. But if anyone is the right person for the job, it’s Guikema. Last year, he built a model that predicted the power outages in the wake of Sandy—and it was totally accurate. So yeah, Mother Nature may bring her worst—but at least we’ve got some science superheroes helping us out.