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Universities Get Funding to Study Impact of Cat-6 Hurricanes

In light of the increasingly severe damage hurricanes cause on the Atlantic coast, Florida International University will use grant funding to build on research from its Wall of Wind, designed to withstand Category 5 storms.

Wall of Wind at Florida International University
Florida International University
When the Wall of Wind at Florida International University (FIU) was built in 2012, it was designed to simulate the power of Hurricane Andrew, the Category 5 storm that hit South Florida in 1992, killing 65 people and causing $25 billion in damages. The wall’s 20- x 14-foot set of fans can test everything from traffic lights to small buildings against 157 mph winds, the minimum speed of a Category 5 hurricane. Since then, severe weather events have become even more destructive. After Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas with 185 mph winds in 2019, experts looked at creating Category 6 conditions to account for its power.

This January, FIU received a $12.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation to design and build a new facility based on research conducted at the Wall of Wind. The new prototype will be able to test structures against the worsening hurricanes that the Gulf Coast now faces regularly. Together with researchers from nine other universities, the FIU-led project will subject buildings to 200 mph winds and 20-foot waves, helping cities prepare for even more severe hurricanes to come. The new simulator may be complete as early as 2030, depending on supplementary funding.

Source: The Washington Post