The mass testing comes on the eve of hurricane season, which runs from June through November.
Hurricane season officially begins Friday (June 1) and the Texas Tech University Hurricane Research Team (TTUHRT), which is part of Texas Tech's National Wind Institute (NWI), tested its mobile StickNet platforms today (May 31) in preparation.
“Prior to each hurricane season, a mass test of the StickNet weather monitoring platforms is performed so any measurement issues can be detected and corrected in advance of their use in a hurricane,” said John Schroeder, a professor of atmospheric science in the Department of Geosciences and NWI affiliate. “Since the data is ingested in real-time by others, it is important to have things right before you ever make a move toward the coast.”
StickNets are versatile, rapidly deployable meteorological observing stations that collect high-resolution meteorological data. Dubbed “StickNet” for its resemblance to a stick figure, the platforms are designed to be deployed in large numbers in a short period of time (three minutes or less) and by a small number of people.
“When a hurricane makes landfall, many of the national weather monitoring stations fail to record information due to power loss,” Schroeder said. “This leads to an information void at landfall, when and where it counts the most. This project allows us to fill that void with real-time information and therefore provide a much better understanding of how severe a particular storm is at varied locations across the landfall region. This information can then directly support forecasting, emergency response and future efforts to mitigate property loss and save lives.”
The NWI received a grant in 2017 to expand its mobile StickNet platforms from 24 to 48. All 48 StickNets were tested today.
“This year represents the first year Texas Tech will be deploying this many instruments,” Schroeder said. “We are expanding deployment by 100 percent relative to previous years. This will allow us to cover more of the landfall region with measurements and also place them farther inland.”