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Thursday, October 28, 2010

More Than Just Hot Air

It was meant to be a quick trip to my local Costco . . . but the emergency management geek in me was distracted by an “activity/game” in the food court.

The Hurricane Simulator

For a $2 fee, you can stand in a capsule while electric fans simulate gusting winds (up to 78 mph) that accompany a category 1 hurricane. I didn’t have the change on me otherwise I would have embarrassed myself and tried it out.

I imagine the folks in Florida laughing at this.

The next time I was in the office, I googled Hurricane Simulator and found videos of people testing it out. They stood in the capsule as the simulated wind ruffled their clothes and hair. As you can imagine, these videos provided some good laughs.

However, the coolest part of the search was to uncover the GIANT hurricane simulator created by the University of Florida. This GIANT simulator is designed to test the impact of strong winds and rain on a house; powered by 4 diesel engines and 6 industrial fans . . .this can simulate winds from a category 3 hurricane (125 mph). The kind of power that can level a house in minutes.
By recreating the extreme winds, researchers can learn more about how hurricanes damage real homes and how to modify homes, building codes and products to best prevent that damage.
The researchers even use rocket launchers to understand the damage caused by flying debris.

How cool is that!

Little did I know when I saw the Hurricane Simulator at the mall it would lead me further down the path of emergency management geekdom.


Anonymous said...

Totally geeky, cool discovery. I've seen the Hurricane Simulator in AZ Mills mall.

I didn't try it out. Nothing can top sitting thru Hurricane Georges on St Thomas, in 1998.

AzEIN said...

what was that like? where were you held up?