May 27, 2014
The first hurricane of 2014, Hurricane Amanda, became the strongest May eastern Pacific hurricane on record Sunday morning, as peak winds approached that of a Category 5 storm. By Monday evening it dipped to Category 2 but, unexpectedly, regained strength Tuesday to return to Category 3. Forecasters expect Amanda to weaken to a tropical storm by Thursday.
The six-month hurricane season begins June 1, and while the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expects a normal to above-normal season in the Pacific Ocean, the outlook for the Atlantic is expected to be near-normal to below-normal, and El Niño may be the reason.
Texas Tech University leads the nation in wind research. Texas Tech University has a number of researchers with extensive experience researching hurricanes such as Rita, Katrina and Ike, and can speak as experts about various aspects of these devastating storms.
The National Wind Institute (NWI), as it is now known, combines the former Wind Science and Engineering (WiSE) research center, which created the first doctorate in wind science and engineering, with the Texas Wind Energy Institute (TWEI), creator of the only Bachelor of Science degree in wind energy. NWI strengthens the university’s interdisciplinary approach to all things wind.
John Schroeder, professor of atmospheric sciences and director of NWI, visited effected areas after
both hurricanes Rita and Katrina to deploy instrumented towers that gather high-resolution
storm data at a time when most conventional observation systems fail. Schroeder can
offer insight into how hurricanes develop, move and react to various meteorological
elements. He is an expert on hurricane winds and has been actively intercepting hurricanes
Schroeder can be reached at (806) 834-5678 or email@example.com.
Daan Liang, assistant professor of construction engineering technology, investigated building
damages caused by Hurricane Katrina using satellite images and aerial photos along
with ground survey results. Liang has studied how the construction of buildings affects
their vulnerability against severe windstorms with various probability models. Recently,
his research is focused on the advancement of remote sensing technology in documenting
and assessing wind damages to residential structures.
Liang can be reached at (806) 834-0383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ernst Kiesling, research professor at NWI and executive director of the National Storm Shelter Association
(NSSA), recommends that homeowners who live above the flood plane in hurricane-prone
areas buy a storm shelter for their home. As was seen in Houston preceding Hurricane
Rita, evacuations are stressful and expensive. They often put immense strain on traffic
corridors, leading to traffic jams and – in the case of Houston – fatalities. By utilizing
in-home shelters, some families who are not required to evacuate can remain where
they are and ease the traffic flow. However, Kiesling urges buyers to look for a seal
of the NSSA when they buy a safe room for their home, because not all shelters are
verified to be fully compliant with current standards for storm shelters and to provide
full protection from extreme winds. Kiesling has more than 35 years of experience
in the design, standards-writing and quality control of storm shelters.
Kiessling can be reached at (806) 834-1931 or email@example.com.
Larry Tanner, research associate in civil engineering, completed a six-month investigation working
with the FEMA mitigation assessment team on the wind damage to residential structures
from Hurricane Ike in Texas and Louisiana. He was also a member of the FEMA mitigation
assessment team that studied Hurricane Katrina. He led a team that recorded wind and
water damage along the coastline in Louisiana and Mississippi. Much of the damage
done by Katrina, he said, resulted from structures being built below the base flood
elevation – or the elevation that flood waters will rise to during a 100-year storm
event (meaning the storm only has a 1 percent chance of happening in a year).
Tanner can be reached at (806) 834-2320 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bradley Ewing, professor of operations management in the Rawls College of Business, has studied
the economic impact of hurricanes and tornadoes. He can speak to the impact of hurricanes
and tornadoes in cities like Oklahoma City; Corpus Christi; Wilmington, N.C.; Miami;
and Nashville, Tenn.
Ewing can be reached at (806) 834-3939 or email@example.com.