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Scientists gather for hurricane conference

30th conference held in Ponte Vedra Beach

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Scientists from all over the world have gathered in Ponte Vedra Beach this week to talk about hurricanes.

It's part of the 30th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology.

"The people in Jacksonville are damn lucky. You all don't know how lucky you are," said William Gray, a hurricane forecaster with Colorado State University since 1984.

Gray said northeast Florida should have a mild season this year, but he said everyone should take caution.

"No matter what we forecast, you should prepare the same for every season," Gray said.

He said although forecasting hurricanes may be boring to some, it helps people every hurricane season, even if the forecasts aren't always 100 percent accurate.

"The reason we do this is because people have a lot of interest in it," Gray said. "People should know we can't tell each season for sure, you know."

The hurricane convention is held every couple years, but Gray said the face-to-face time helps build relationships with people in the weather business.

Josh Wurman, of the Center for Severe Weather Research, said the convention is a learning experience every year.

"There are 100 other different people here. Maybe something they have can help me in my research, something I'm doing can help them," Wurman said. "We can learn more and make the predictions better."

Wurman looks at how the winds change and how hurricane-strength winds cause damage.

"It's important to get observations," he said. "It's important to move the science forward so that predictions get better and forecasts get better."

June 1 is the first day of hurricane season. For information on the upcoming storm season, visit News4Jax.com's hurricane section or JustWeather.com.