Chris Hebert

Chris Hebert

TropicsWatch Manager, Houston

Manages the TropicsWatch team, helping clients to visualize and better understand the overall risk from a hurricane or tropical storm. Chris is StormGeo’s lead hurricane forecaster. He and his team are responsible for providing tropical expertise, forecasts and services for all ocean basins to all global StormGeo clients, at any operating location.

Chris’ Story

“Though I have held many positions in the weather industry over my career – aviation, marine, illustrator, tropical and more – my true passion has always been forecasting hurricanes (tropical cyclones). I am fortunate to be able to work in a career that I not only enjoy but is truly my passion. This has allowed me to help build the TropicsWatch service from a ‘simple’ source for reliable tropical weather data to one that provides not only accurate tropical weather information, but also decision guidance support through all phases of a client’s response to a hurricane.”

Developing an interest in tropical weather from an early age – Chris remembers plotting hurricane charts with his mother at the kitchen table before he was in grade school –Chris graduated from Texas A&M University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology. He then joined a small weather company specializing in offshore weather. Soon after, Chris moved to Universal Weather and Aviation. Chris joined the ImpactWeather team in 1998. ImpactWeather was purchased by StormGeo in 2012. Chris has now been with StormGeo and former parent organizations since 1981.

Chris’ main objective is to lead the TropicsWatch team to be the best in the industry by providing the most advanced weather forecasts while also helping clients understand how the weather will impact their facilities.

Additionally, while working hand-in-hand with StormGeo’s Business Continuity team (ImpactReady), TropicsWatch provides the types of services, data and support that allow a client to respond efficiently, effectively, and in a timely manner in the face of threatening weather. This type of response requires significant preplanning, and Chris works closely with clients to ensure their response is up to the task. This often requires that Chris and his team visit client locations to help develop response plans and then to drill/practice the response to “drill storms” that have been specifically designed to push a client’s response to the breaking point.

“I have developed services and products that influence when a client will send helicopters offshore to evacuate workers from an oil platform, when a client will send workers home and shut down a refinery, when they will transfer operations from a threatened location to a non-threated location, when they will activate the next phase in their disaster response plan and more. Being such an integral part of a client’s response plan is not a place I saw myself being thirty years ago, but as TropicsWatch has developed over the past 10–12 years, it’s exactly where I want to be and can’t imagine being elsewhere.”

Knowing that it takes more than an accurate forecast to make StormGeo successful, Chris has been vital in developing products and services that help a client plan for, survive and recover from a devastating tropical storm, including:

  • Hurricane Severity Index (HSI) Tool
  • Worst Case Scenario Tool
  • Probability of Wind Impact Tool
  • Hurricane Trigger Report
  • Threatened Regions from Active Cyclones (TRAC)
  • Storm Evasion Tool for Drill Ships

Expertise

  • Tropical Meteorology
  • North American winter precipitation
  • North American drought
  • Coastal/marine/advection fog
  • Storm surge / inland inundation
  • Global teleconnections, including
    • Upper air patterns
    • Ocean currents and temperature regimes (sea surface temperature oscillation)
    • Tropical atmosphere, including intraseasonal variabilities and oscillations
    • ENSO – El Nino-Southern Oscillation
  • Marine Weather, including sea state
  • Hurricane Preparedness

Conferences Presented at:

  • National Hurricane Conference
  • The National Tropical Weather Conference
  • INTSOK’s Norwegian Technology Conference
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers Conference (New Orleans)
  • American Meteorological Society Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology
  • Offshore Technology Conference (OTC)
  • Outage Response Conference (Atlanta)
  • Association of Contingency Planners (Houston/Orlando)
  • Energy Security Council Conference (The Woodlands)
  • Texas Chemical Council Conference (TCC/ACIT) – (Galveston)
  • SecureWorld Expo (Houston)
  • Disaster Resource Journal Conference (Orlando)
  • Underwater Intervention Conference (New Orleans)

Research

  • Hurricane Severity Index: A new way of estimating a tropical storm’s destructive potential” (2010)
  • Probabilistic vs. Deterministic Forecasting

Education

Chris holds a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Texas A&M University.

Read Insights from StormGeo Thought Leaders