Rain. Surge. Wind. Hurricane Florence tore through the Carolinas, creating historic damage and tearing apart lives. Now, a group of students and faculty at Texas Tech University are working to turn that fury and frustration into better understanding.
“It’s been around here for a number of years now and it’s specifically devoted to understanding wind profiles and storm damage in association with hurricanes,” said Aaron Mehner, a Texas Tech graduate student.
The Texas Tech University Hurricane Research Team traveled to coastal North Carolina just before Florence unleashed its wrath to analyze not the water, but the wind.
“So, we ultimately made the decision kind of late in the game, as close to last minute as we could, but we were prepared nonetheless,” Mehner said.
The team had to monitor the storm closely, however, as the water began to rise, they ultimately made the decision to leave before getting stuck in floodwaters.
“You’re in a lower lying area there that’s a lot more prone to flooding,” said Mehner. “So, we were in the hotel on Saturday night and water started to come up around the parking lots and you felt like you blinked and not too many minutes later it was noticeably higher.”
Now that the team is safely back in Lubbock, the work begins on reviewing the data and using it to inform fellow Texans about the risks associated with strong hurricane-force winds.
“There are scientists that are making efforts to better understand these things and while sometimes it may seem tedious and ridiculous, it’s all so that we as a society can have a better understanding of how these storms operate,” said Mehner.