August 26, 2012
Forecasters have issued a hurricane warning for portions of the west coast of Florida and the Florida Keys. Isaac, already responsible for several deaths in Haiti, is expected to make landfall in Florida on Monday as a hurricane. The deadly storm could pose a risk to Tampa, where the Republican National Convention is scheduled to begin Monday. The Texas Tech Hurricane Research Team is headed that direction as well, ready to brave the storm and deploy StickNet probes to gather data.
John Schroeder, professor of atmospheric science, is a charter member and director of the team. He is an expert on how hurricanes interact with man’s built environment at landfall and has been actively intercepting hurricanes since 1998.
“Our hurricane research team is dedicated to mitigating the effects of land-falling hurricanes on life and property,” Schroeder said. “To that end, we deploy instrumented towers that gather high-resolution storm data at a time when most conventional observation systems fail.”
Schroeder explained that once the instruments are set, team members head for safety until the storm passes.
“We try to place everything and get out of the way before the wind gets much above tropical storm force (39 mph),” he said. “Any later, and things start falling, like tree branches, power lines and other debris, which increases the danger and limits the team’s mobility.”
Follow the team through status updates and pictures on Facebook.
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