Archived News | Return to News Center

September 12, 2008

ULM atmospheric sciences grad works at National Hurricane Center

ULM atmospheric sciences graduate Eric Blake ('98) is working around the clock — an essential part of his job at the National Hurricane Center.

Concerning Hurricane Ike, Blake, a hurricane specialist at the center, said, "This is going to be an extremely dangerous storm and will produce higher levels of storm surge in many areas than even in Hurricane Rita. All residents in southwest and south-central Louisiana and the upper Texas coast should take full precautions for this hurricane.

"Right now, the job is exciting, scary, rewarding, tiring. It has already been a busy season, and I'm sure there will be many more six- and seven-day weeks to come. It is very enjoyable and very rewarding most of the time. I went into meteorology because it has always been a passion of mine. I've been interested in it every since I was very young, especially in hurricanes."

He credits ULM as a key part of his education in atmospheric sciences. "Because of my education at ULM, I was able to attend graduate school at Colorado State and become a hurricane specialist. ULM was a great place for me because the Atmospheric Sciences Department was small, and I got to know all of the students. The professors were friendly and knowledgeable as well, particularly Dr. Eric Pani and Dr. Lynn LeBlanc."

The ULM grad began his career with the National Hurricane Center in 2000 as a student intern, advancing to a full time position there in 2002. He became a hurricane specialist in 2006. His current position involves the issuance of track, intensity and wind radii forecasts, as well as associated watches and warnings for tropical cyclones in the Atlantic and eastern North Pacific oceans.

Blake performs post-season analyses of hurricanes and hurricane forecasts for the Atlantic and eastern Pacific basins. In addition, he composes tropical cyclone reports detailing the history, meteorology statistics and all relevant information pertaining to a particular tropical cyclone.

Outside of hurricane season, his job is shift work, moving the focus to education, outreach and training.

He serves on the Tropical Cyclone Best Track Change Committee, which considers both internal and external proposals to change the hurricane record, important for long-term studies of climate and global warming.

Blake led a team of scientists in publishing a research project on "The Deadliest, Costliest and Most Intense Atlantic Tropical Cyclones, 1851-2006." He is also the author of a book, currently in revisions before publication, detailing facts, figures and tracks of "Eastern North Pacific Tropical Cyclones, 1949-2006."

He is a member of the NOAA Atlantic and Eastern Pacific seasonal hurricane forecast team.

For the latest results from the National Hurricane Center, visit:

PLEASE NOTE: Some links and e-mail addresses in these archived news stories may no longer work, and some content may include events which are no longer relevent, or reference individuals and/or organizations no longer associated with ULM.