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Copyright 2009-2010 by
Mary Brotherton
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Inside my Brain

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Hurricane season officially begins on June 1st in Florida, and while everyone in the area is keenly aware of this fact, few will be as involved as the man some call “Hurricane John” Williams. As an associate faculty member, Williams runs the Hurricane Research program at Florida Institute of Technology.

As part of the Department of Marine and Environmental Systems
Meteorology program, Williams and his students research the ever improving areas of satellite meteorology, tropical meteorology and severe weather, electronics and weather instrumentation, and radar meteorology. Williams is also a weather advisor for radio station WFIT as well as FOX 35 during severe weather, and especially during hurricanes.
Born in Minnesota and raised in Iowa, Williams moved to Florida in 1950, after joining the army.  His active duty military career carried him through World War II, Korea, and Viet Nam.  He was on active duty at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, when he studied atmospheric sciences and learned to analyze weather.  He has worked as a data analyzer forecaster for the National Hurricane Center in Coral Gables, FL, and as a weather officer for NASA.  
Having flown nearly twelve reconnaissance missions into the eye of hurricanes, Williams has assisted in gathering important information that is not achieved by any other method.  Weather satellites have ensured, since 1060 that hurricanes won’t hit without warning; but even the most sophisticated satellite can’t exactly predict when, where, or how hard a hurricane will hit, as accurately as when combined with information gathered from the specially equipped WC 130 turboprops.  
Co-authoring Florida Hurricanes and Tropical Storms, 1871-2001 with Dr. Iver Duedall, Williams has discussed the historical and geographical perspectives of past hurricanes and explained the terminology used by meteorologists in a style that even young students can understand.  This book, which has been praised as a fascinating, definitive reference for anyone interested in Florida meteorology, features exceptional photographs, statistics for each hurricane, and a valuable hurricane preparedness checklist, as well as what to expect in reference to property damage and evacuation procedures.
One of the more knowledgeable and interesting experts in Florida hurricanes, John Williams will be speaking at area Libraries in June.  He will be at the Cocoa Beach Public Library on Friday, June 23rd at 2:00pm, and at the West Melbourne Library on Wednesday June 28th at 7:00pm.  
The Cocoa Beach Public Library is located at 550 N. Brevard Ave, Cocoa Beach, FL  32931.  The West Melbourne Library is located at 2755 Wingate Blvd, West Melbourne, FL  32904.

For more information, call Cocoa Beach Library at 321-868-1104 or West Melbourne Library at 321-952-4508.