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A Most Mighty Wind

  • BAMS
  • By AMS Staff
  • Jul 11, 2022

A BAMS Parcel

200 miles per hour—Wind-speed capability of a planned testing facility at Florida International University (FIU) that the National Science Foundation recently awarded a $12.8 million grant. The space will also have a water basin that can replicate wave activity and storm surge, making it the first facility of its kind with such water and wind components. The new resource will be part of FIU’s Extreme Events Institute (EEI), which already has a 12-fan facility called the Wall of Wind that is capable of producing 157-mph winds—equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane. But as a changing climate generates stronger storms that rapidly intensify, researchers need new tools to keep up. "The scientific consensus is that we're going to see more intense storms, so we have to research and test for more intense storms,” says EEI Director Richard Olson. “Otherwise, nature's going to keep hitting us with harder stuff than we're ready for.” The new facility will give researchers insight into how stronger storms will affect buildings and infrastructure—Olson notes that “because the famous Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale only goes to Category 5, internally we call this our ‘Cat 6 project.’” Researchers from FIU and eight other universities will partner to design the facility, which is scheduled to open in 2026. “We can start putting all of these components together to get a much better picture of what nature is going to be hitting us with,” Olson says.


[Sources: Florida International University,]



Photo credit: Gordienko