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Alumnus Brad McClam to Present Research at National Weather Conference

Sep 28, 2012

Brad McClam, a 2005 Claflin University graduate, has been selected to present his research on Hurricane Hugo at the National Weather Association’s annual meeting in Madison, Wisconsin next month.

McClam is currently pursuing a Masters of Applied Science degree from the University of Nebraska. 

His research focuses on the various ways forecasting models for hurricanes and tropical storms have advanced since Hugo, a category 4 hurricane that devastated the South Carolina coast in 1989. 

“I will discuss the model used in that time while giving the background story of Hugo,” said McClam.  “Forecasting has advanced remarkably since then with new technology.  My presentation will include how those improvements have better prepared reaction and response to hurricanes.”

McClam was selected among many graduate school entries to present before National Weather Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting excellence in metrology.

For him, examining Hugo closely literally hits close to home.  McClam was in first grade when the storm touched down on his hometown Lake City.  “Hugo was significant for me because I lived through it.  I was young but I vividly recalled the massive extent of the damage it caused.”

Hugo reached winds of 140 mph and was directly responsible for 49 deaths.  At the time, it was the deadliest storm to hit the U.S. in more than two decades.

In addition to his oral presentation to the NWA, he will also have a poster of the research at the conference. 

He credited his education at Claflin for opening doors.  Although McClam graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications at the University, he was also passionate about science.

“Claflin instilled a level of confidence to go out and compete in the job market,” said McClam.  “That you have the power to succeed.  You just have to go out and get it.

And McClam plans on doing this just that.  Before arriving at the University of Nebraska, he was an intrepid reporter for the Lake City News and the Morning News in Florence, S.C.

After finishing his graduate degree, McClam is going to pursue a Ph.D. in either earth science or entomology, which is the study of insects.  His dream is to become a department chair at a top scientific research university.

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