Texas Tech University

Hurricane Research Team Tracking Laura as Storm Makes Landfall in Louisiana

Amanda Bowman

August 27, 2020

Researchers from Texas Tech University deployed StickNet platforms to measure wind speeds in hopes to better understand and prepare for future storms.

Researchers from Texas Tech University's Hurricane Research Team (TTUHRT), which consists of faculty and graduate students from Texas Tech's Atmospheric Science Group and the National Wind Institute (NWI), are tracking Hurricane Laura, which made landfall in Louisiana overnight as a Category 4 storm. Laura is the strongest storm to hit the Louisiana coast in more than 150 years, making it more powerful than Hurricane Katrina.

Currently leading the TTUHRT are research professor Brian Hirth and John Schroeder, director of the NWI and a professor of atmospheric science. The TTUHRT is driving through the storm in its Ka-band Mobile Doppler Radar Trucks and has deployed 48 StickNet platforms to better understand wind structure and improve resiliency to these wind events.

The TTUHRT is trying to capture the breadth of the wind field of the storm and understand how the wind varies across the entire storm, both in the stronger, onshore side and the weaker, offshore side of the storm.

Texas Tech is one of the only universities in the country that offers the opportunity to go into the field for these types of research projects and is one of only a few universities that have brought instrumentation into the field for the landfall of Hurricane Laura. These efforts will make Laura one of the most documented major hurricanes ever to have made landfall in the U.S.

Hurricane Laura