Written by Cory Chandler

Date: Sept. 2, 2005
CONTACT: Cory Chandler,

LUBBOCK – The American Veterinary Medical Association named Dr. Ronald D. Warner, one of four national contacts for issues dealing with the public health aspects of recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Warner, DVM, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

Also, Dr. John Schroeder, an assistant professor of Atmospheric Science at Texas Tech University, and his team of researchers recently returned from the area affected by Hurricane Katrina after riding out the storm in Gautier, MS.

The team used five instrumented towers developed by Texas Tech University’s Wind Science and Engineering Research Center as an easily deployable system of meteorological equipment that can be placed in front of landfalling hurricanes to extract information from the storm. They gather high-resolution data on the hurricane’s winds, temperature, pressure, and humidity at a time when most conventional observation systems fail. The project has been actively intercepting hurricanes since 1998.

Schroeder can offer insight into how hurricanes develop, move, and react to various meteorological elements. He is an expert on how the hurricane interacts with man’s built environment at landfall.

The Wind Science and Engineering Research Center has a slate of experts that can speak on a range of hurricane-related topics. Experts include:

Ronald Warner, associate professor at the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Warner can discuss issues such as food safety, mosquito control, disposal of mass casualty animals, especially farm animals, clean water. He served for 23 years in the United States Air Force focusing on areas such as environmental health, public health, preventive medicine and epidemiologic research. For more information, contact Dr. Warner at (806) 743 3092 or Suzanna Martinez, Office of Communications and Marketing, at (806) 789-3678.

John L. Schroeder, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Science at Texas Tech University, specializes in field studies to characterize the extreme winds found in hurricanes. He can speak on the interaction of the near surface wind field and
man’s built environment, and provide information from 7 years of experiences in which his team of researchers actively intercepted landfalling hurricanes to collect valuable data. Schroeder can be reached at (806) 742-2813 or via e-mail at

Dr. Chris Letchford, a professor in Texas Tech’s Department of Civil Engineering. Letchford’s in-depth research in building aerodynamics is highly respected throughout the world. He has continued to build upon his research in the effects of high winds on building pressures. Thunderstorms, downbursts, and tornadoes cause large amounts of building damage. Dr. Letchford has recognized that current wind tunnel modeling techniques do not simulate the highly varying and turbulent winds in these storms. As a result, Dr. Letchford, working in conjunction with Dr. Darryl James of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has built experimental wind tunnels to simulate pulse jet and tornadic winds. He can be reached at 742-3479, ext. 328, or

Ernst Kiesling, Ph.D., P.E., Sr. Associate Dean of Engineering and professor of civil engineering, specializes in debris impact and above-ground shelters. He can
speak on the construction and use of personal and community shelters. Kiesling has more than 30 years of experience in the field documenting debris damage and testing different materials and types of construction. He can be reached at (806) 742-3451, ext.235 or via e-mail at

Arn Womble, a structural engineer and doctoral candidate working with the center, uses high-resolution satellite imagery to study hurricane damages. Using images recorded by the satellites Quickbird and IKONOS, Womble already used this technology last year to study the damage created when hurricanes Charlie and Ivan ravaged parts of Florida. The satellite images assisted field reconnaissance teams in gathering damage data. Field reconnaissance is often impeded by clean-up efforts that shift or remove debris before they can be properly scrutinized. This helps preserve that “perishable” data. He can be reached at (806) 543-1169, or via e-mail at

The findings are used to help the center develop structures capable of withstanding hurricane-force gales. The center has performed dozens of product tests for an international slate of manufacturers and organizations like the Portland Cement Association, The Engineered Wood Association, and Waco Composites.

CONTACT: Sally Post, director of broadcast and radio communications, Texas Tech University, (806) 773-3907 Michael Castellon, staff writer, (806) 441-8455, Cory Chandler, staff writer, (432) 559-8119,