Virginia Tech has a team of coastal experts available to talk with reporters as Tropical Storm Florence heads toward the East Coast.

Below are some of the Virginia Tech researchers whose knowledge could add meaning and proactive insights to news coverage of hurricanes, flash flooding, storm surge, sea-level rise and other natural disasters.

Robert Weiss examines the impact of coastal hazards in the geologic past, today and in the future. His work analyzes how climate change and sea-level rise could change the nature and impacts of coastal hazards in coming years. He develops computer models and uses data analytics to translate the geologic record of coastal hazards into insights that improve the understanding of coastal hazards in the past and today.Weiss is an associate professor of natural hazards in the Department of Geosciences.

Christopher Zobel focuses on helping decision makers improve their ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters. He is particularly interested in using analytical modeling and computer simulation to help understand the complex nature of disaster resilience. Zobel is the R.B. Pamplin Professor of Business Information Technology in the Pamplin College of Business.

Jennifer Irish studies coastal flooding and engineering solutions to minimize its impacts. Her work emphasizes the characterization of storm surge likelihood, barrier-island response to coastal storms, mitigation potential of coastal forest and wetlands, and the influence of sea-level rise. Irish is a professor of coastal engineering in the Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering.

Todd Schenk focuses on collaborative governance approaches and tools to tackle complex public policy challenges, particularly in the areas of environment and climate change. Schenk is an assistant professor in the School of Public and International Affairs.

Anamaria Bukvic researches coastal hazards and disasters, adaptation, resilience, and population relocation. She studies the impacts of climate change on migration dynamic and displacement in coastal settings, as well as the policy and planning mechanisms that would improve the relocation process as a viable adaptation response to sea level rise and chronic flooding. Bukvic is a research assistant professor in the Department of Geography.

Schedule an interview

To arrange an interview, please contact Lon Wagner (540-739-9438 or or Michael Stowe (540-392-4218 or

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