“… In a new $62 million, 5-year program, the network of doomsday machines is expanding to simulate hurricanes and tornadoes and is joining forces with computer modeling to study how things too big for a physical test, such as nuclear reactors or an entire city, will weather what Mother Nature throws at them…”
PHOTO: Researchers at OSU, Corvallis, unleash tsunamis in a wave basin. © Aurora Photos/Alamy Stock Photo
The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that it has selected the Wall of Wind (WOW) Facility as one of the nation’s major “Experimental Facilities” under the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) competition.
PHOTO: FIU’s Wall of Wind
Building code provisions, particularly for the Miami-Dade High Velocity Hurricane Zone, have been revised and tightened in the last two decades based on lessons learned from previous storms. But until FIU’s Hurricane Research Center (IHRC) introduced the Wall of Wind (WOW) – the largest and most powerful university storm research facility – it was impossible to gauge just how South Florida construction would fare in the face of a major storm. By the fall of 2014, the Wall of Wind — in partnership with Miami-Dade County – will have completed tests on how well different building products hold up under different natural disaster scenarios.
PHOTO: Arindam Chowdhury says Wall of Wind testing will help determine which construction products will fare best in stormy conditions.
The National Building Museum's exhibition, Designing for Disaster, examines how we assess risks from natural hazards and how we can create policies, plans, and designs yielding safer, more disaster-resilient communities.
PHOTO: “Designing for Disaster”, National Building Museum, Washington DC. Installation view. © Allan Sprecher, courtesy of the National Building Museum
USAID is working with the university to ensure the safety of their structures. These structures are being tested at FIU’s Wall of Wind to ensure their safety. USAID‘s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance is working with researchers at FIU’s Wall of Wind to test the strength and design of transitional shelters used by the organization in areas that have been hard hit by disasters. Sturdier than a tent but not as strong as a house, the structures protect individuals until they can find a permanent home.
FIU is a leading voice on hurricane preparedness. Two recent examples of FIU’s impact: Associate Director of FIU’s Extreme Events Institute Erik Salna’s work and FIU’s role in the Weather-Ready Nation (WRN) program was honored during September – National Preparedness Month – by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); and IMAX chose FIU’s Wall of Wind (WOW) to film for a movie on hurricanes.
Wall of Wind (WOW) blasted hurricane-force winds on a scaled down model home, and the result was captured on film. The demonstration was produced for IMAX, which chose to film at WOW for an upcoming movie on hurricanes. The exercise is also a good reminder to people who live in areas affected by hurricanes that they must prepare their homes when a storm is coming.
CBS4-my33 Chief Meteorologist Craig Setzer reports on the capabilities, impacts and research of the FIU Wall of Wind.
The Weather Channel’s Bryan Norcross reports on the Wall of Wind at Florida International University.
The Weather Channel’s Kait Parker was a VIP Judge for the 2015 Wall of Wind Challenge at Florida International University and aired this story.
Florida International University's one-of-a-kind hurricane simulator, the Wall of Wind, takes the national stage as a special, interactive feature of the new exhibition opening at the National Building Museum.
The yearlong exhibition, Designing for Disasters, explores new solutions and historical responses to a range of natural hazards, including earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, storm surge, flooding, seal level rise, tsunamis, and wildfires. The Wall of Wind (WOW) exhibit spotlights FIU's role as a national leader in hurricane mitigation research.
The Wall of Wind at FIU is the largest and most powerful university research facility of its kind and is capable of simulating a Category 5 hurricane. The Wall of Wind is open for business and available to clients for both research and private industry testing.
FIU and the International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC) have collaborated with the museum to create a hurricane exhibition. With support from the Florida Division of Emergency Management, several state-of-the-art interactive exhibits were designed to teach hurricane science, mitigation and preparedness. A hands-on version of the IHRC’s Wall of Wind allows visitors to build and test a model house against hurricane force winds. They can climb inside the cockpit of a real P-3 Hurricane Hunter aircraft and imagine themselves flying into the eye of the storm. And 20 years after Hurricane Andrew made landfall in South Florida, visitors can see remarkable video and artifacts from the catastrophic historical event.
A great collection of Wall of Wind Photos can be found here.