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Hurricane Preparedness Week: Spotlight on Kodi Monroe

Weather and Climate Extension Agent at the NOAA-funded Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies

Kodi Monroe is a Weather and Climate Extension Agent at the NOAA-funded Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS) and is affiliated with the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) in Norman, Oklahoma. Kodi oversees the Coastal and Inland Flooding Observation and Warning (CI-FLOW) Project. CI-FLOW is a demonstration project that predicts the combined effects of coastal and inland floods for coastal North Carolina. CI-FLOW captures the complex interaction between rainfall, river flows, waves, tides, and storm surge, and how they will impact ocean and river water levels.

It’s Hurricane Preparedness Week, what is one thing everyone needs to know about preparing for a hurricane?

People need to know their vulnerability to all hurricane hazards (e.g., storm surge, heavy rainfall and inland flooding, high winds, tornadoes, rip currents) so they can determine the appropriate actions they should take.

What is something cool you learned while working on coastal hazards outreach?

I learned that the storm surge associated with a landfalling hurricane can cause a river to reverse direction (causing water to flow upstream).

What drove you to work on coastal hazards outreach?

With an academic background in meteorology and experiences at the American Meteorological Society’s Summer Policy Colloquium and the Weather and Society * Integrated Studies Workshop, I wanted my work to extend beyond basic research. Watching Hurricanes Katrina and Ike unfold on television opened my eyes to the need for better communication of storm surge information.

How did you get involved with Sea Grant? When did you join Sea Grant?

I joined Sea Grant in July 2009 when an opportunity arose with CIMMS/NSSL to work on a project to predict coastal inundation due to the combined effects of rainfall, runoff, storm surge, tides, and waves associated with landfalling hurricanes in North Carolina.

What is your favorite part about being a Sea Grant Extension agent?

I get to work with a diverse group of people whose expertise varies across the physical (meteorology, hydrology, engineering, etc.) and social sciences (sociology, education, political science, etc.).

What is the biggest challenge you face at your job?

The biggest challenge I face is the geographical distance between my office in Norman, Oklahoma and partners at other Sea Grant programs, universities, and NOAA offices (e.g., North Carolina, Texas, Georgia, Maryland) because it really limits face-to-face interactions.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in science?

I was interested in medicine until my senior year of high school when I realized I enjoyed physics much more than biology or chemistry. My love for physics and the weather in general led me to meteorology in college.

What part of your job did you least expect to be doing?

I least expected to interact with the media (print and television).

What’s at the top of your recommended reading list for someone wanting to explore a career in science?

I would recommend checking with a school or local librarian. However, The Weather Book: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to the USA’s Weather by Jack Williams seems to be one of the first books commonly read by young weather enthusiasts. 

And how about a personal favorite book?

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Do you have an outside hobby?

Most of my hobbies, with the exception of running, have given way to reading and dancing with my daughter.

What surprised you most about working at Sea Grant?

I was most surprised that a Sea Grant outreach position existed in a landlocked state.

Meet other people in the Sea Grant Network that help communities prepare for severe coastal storms like hurricanes:
Hawaii Sea Grant Extension Agent: Dennis Hwang
New York Sea Grant Communication Specialist: Paul Focazio
Maine Sea Grant Extension Agent: Kristen Grant 
MIT Sea Grant funded researchers: Robert Beardsley and Changsheng Chen 
South Carolina Sea Grant funded Researcher: Scott Schiff
Texas Sea Grant Extension Agent: Heather Wade

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