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gimme shelter

'We had to shutter up our house and head to work' - US chief hurricane forecaster Mike Brennan

Dr Mike Brennan spoke to us about last year’s devastating Atlantic hurricane season. / YouTube

THE US NATIONAL Hurricane Center in Miami is built to withstand Category 5 hurricane winds – so, for forecasters and their families, it’s the ideal place to shelter when a storm hits.

Dr Mike Brennan, head hurricane forecaster at the centre, is in Ireland this week at the invitation of Met Éireann: he and his team worked closely with Irish forecasters last October in advance of the arrival of Hurricane Ophelia.

His centre is compiling a report on Ophelia at the moment. Mike also spoke to us about last year’s Atlantic hurricane season, when a series of major storms – including Harvey, Maria and Irma – caused unprecedented damage in the US and the Caribbean.

He and his wife “started boarding up our shutters a week before Hurricane Irma,” Mike told us, when he dropped by for an interview alongside Met Éireann’s Evelyn Cusack. Other families also took shelter at the centre for two nights until the storm abated.

Mike will be talking about the US National Hurricane Center and the life-cycle of Ophelia (amongst other topics) in a public talk at Dublin’s RDS tonight. Evelyn will also be speaking on the topic of storm names. Tickets are free, but you have to register. You can watch our full 20 minute interview on Facebook here.

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