B: Storms,Tides, Disasters

Dack: I would suggest using barometric pressure as a quantifiable variable. Storms that have heavy rains such as hurricanes have extremely low barometric pressure which can be measured prior to the storm's landfall.

Amy: Wind speeds of the clouds associated with the storms. Look at sea surface temperature and the other storm is moving to evacuate well in advance at predicted arrival time.

Matt: Look at the effects on the water due to near or distant winds.

Brian: [Here's what I came up with. It's a bit wordy, but I had a difficult time narrowing the answer to a single variable. Thoughts?]
Hurricane strength, as measured by maximum sustained wind speed and barometric pressure, should be the primary consideration for possible evacuation, as this represents the amount of energy immediately available to do damage. Predicted storm path, estimated time to landfall, and projections on future strength should also be considered as secondary factors.

Dack (9/7 @ 15:30) - Based on the question I still think barometric pressure is the best single variable to estimate storm strength, storm surge, etc. because all these phenomena are caused by or indicate (very) low barometric pressure. There are other, better variables to describe each event individually, but to me barometric pressure describes all of them reasonably well. Things like storm path and water effects aren't quantifiable and therefore can't be used. Feel free to overrule me if I'm taking this question too literally :-)
Also, what should our team name be?>
Matt (9/7 @ 16:55) - My sentence was constructed in haste, so I feel I should explain myself a little more. We know that wind causes damage and what kind of damage to expect from different wind speeds (Saffir-Simpson Scale). My thoughts were that this needs to be extended when dealing with a coastal community such as Lewes. Here, people need to worry not only about trees and powerlines blowing down, but also storm surge which is ultimately a result of the storm's wind. People tend to evacuate when they think about wind and flooding, but I think often storm surge is overlooked. So the single variable that sort of clumps these together was wind.

Matt & Dack on behalf of others (9/8 @ 18:00) - As a scientific community, we can look at barometric pressure within the storm and use that to predict sustained wind speeds. The public, however, are not likely to care about barometric pressure and will be more interested in knowing how strong the winds are in order to decide whether or not it is safe to stay. Regardless of which variable we choose either one can be helpful in predicting storm surge, which would be a danger to Lewes and is currently difficult to predict.

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