Hurricane Experts Available as Edouard Threatens Texas

Wind Scientists Studied Katrina, Rita and Other Hurricanes

Tropical Storm Edouard is not expected to make landfall in Texas until Tuesday morning, but forecasters warned the storm could spawn tornadoes as soon as Monday evening. Texas Tech University has a number of wind scientists with extensive experience researching hurricanes such as Rita and Katrina and can speak as experts about various aspects of these devastating storms.

Through Texas Tech’s multi-disciplinary Wind Science and Engineering Research Center, the scientists study various aspects of a hurricane, such as: the meteorological forces at work as the hurricane makes landfall, wind damage to buildings such as houses and “lifeline” infrastructure, and the economic impact that evacuations have on cities, banks and stock prices.

Our experts can speak about their findings in Hurricanes Rita and Katrina and other data collected through the center’s three decades of studying wind-related events:

Daan Liang, assistant professor of construction engineering technology at Texas Tech University, 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) 742-3538 or daan.liang@ttu.edu.

Bradley Ewing, professor of operations management in the Rawls College of Business, has studied the economic impact of hurricanes and tornadoes for more than 12 years. 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) 742-3939 or bradley.ewing@ttu.edu.

John L. Schroeder, assistant professor of Atmospheric Science at Texas Tech University, visited affected 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 how the hurricane interacts with man’s built environment at landfall and has been actively intercepting hurricanes since 1998. Schroeder can be reached at (806) 742-2813 or john.schroeder@ttu.edu.

Ernst Kiesling, professor of civil engineering and executive director of the National Storm Shelter Association, 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 often can 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 National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) when they buy a safe room for their home. The NSSA fosters shelter quality and requires its members to verify that their shelters comply with applicable standards. Then members affix a seal to each shelter produced. NSSA’s process for standards compliance verification offers protection to consumers and distinguishes shelters bearing the NSSA seal from those shelters and producers whose quality has not been verified.

Kiesling can speak on the construction and use of residential 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) 742-3476, ext.335 or ernst.kiesling@ttu.edu.

Larry Tanner, research associate in civil engineering, was 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 says, 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) 742-3476 ext. 336, or larry.tanner@ttu.edu.