Staffing information Booth (L - R) CWSU Houston Meteorologist-in-Charge Roland Nunez, WFO Houston Meteorological Technician Debra Helvy and Warning Coordination Meteorologist Dan Reilly (Photo: WFO Houston)
(June 23, 2011) -- A record crowd of nearly 5,000 visitors turned out for the Houston/Galveston forecast office's 2011 Hurricane Workshop. The annual workshop began in 1990 with a handful of emergency management and private industry attendees and was open to the general public. By 1993 the crowd had grown to 1,000 and has continued to expand each successive year.
Houston/Galveston Meteorologist-in-Charge Gene Hafele notes, "The continuing success of our hurricane workshop is due to the partnerships we have had with private and public entities from its inception."
The workshop is hosted by the forecast office, underwritten by CenterPoint Energy Co. and supported by the City of Houston. Other contributors include Harris County Office of Emergency Management, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston and the John C. Freeman Weather Museum.
The primary focus is to increase citizen awareness and preparedness in the event of a hurricane. National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read was the featured speaker again this year; and television meteorologists from all of the major outlets, including the Spanish Language stations, were also on hand to participate in a panel discussion.
More than 50 vendors provided booths to help visitors learn how to become better prepared for the 2011 Hurricane Season. One of the favorite areas again this year was the Kids Zone, designed to teach youngsters about preparedness using fun-filled, interactive displays. The workshop was held June 4 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston.
While attendance grew steadily during the workshop's 22 year history, it took a sharp uptick following Hurricane Ike in 2008. Over the years, the award-winning event has grown in notoriety and continues to educate residents of the Houston/Galveston area about hurricane preparedness.
WFO Houston Meteorological Technician Debra Helvy (Photo: WFO Houston)