The United States is preparing for what predictions say will be an average hurricane
season. With June 1 serving as the official start of the season, some 35 million residents
along the coastal United States take the predictions seriously and use the numbers
to help them understand what to expect from the potentially dangerous weather.
Texas Tech University has a number of wind scientists with extensive experience researching
hurricanes such as Rita, Katrina and Ike 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.
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) 742-3538 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 for more than 12 years.
He can speak to the impact of hurricanes and tornadoes in cities such as Oklahoma
City, Corpus Christi, Wilmington, N.C., Miami, and Nashville, Tenn. Ewing can be reached at (806) 742-3939 or email@example.com.
John L. Schroeder, associate professor of atmospheric science, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. They might also encourage
local governmental agencies and school administrations to include community storm
shelters in facilities planning.
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
when they buy a safe room for their home. Although there are a variety of products
available for homes, Kiesling says that not all shelters are verified to be fully
compliant with current standards for storm shelters and to provide full protection
from extreme winds.
Kiesling can speak on the construction and use of residential and community shelters.
Kiesling has more than 30 years of experience in the design, standards-writing and
quality control of storm shelters. He can be reached at (806) 742-3476, ext. 335 or email@example.com.
Larry Tanner, research associate in Wind Science & Engineering has just completed
an investigation and six-month study 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 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). Regarding Ike, he reported that even though Ike's winds were less than
code design speeds, extensive damage was inflicted on building wall cladding and roofing
materials and that thousands of homes were washed away by Ike's tidal surge. Tanner can be reached at (806) 742-3476 ext. 336, or firstname.lastname@example.org.