LUBBOCK, Texas– A team of eight from the Texas Tech National Wind Institute (NWI) left Lubbock around 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday on their way to the Louisiana coast in order to research Hurricane Delta.
They took two radar trucks and three trailers full of their StickNet platforms, which are used to measure the wind speed and direction of major storms. They will deploy them around the Central Louisiana coastal area.
NWI Research Professor, Brian Hirth, said “we are targeting the Baton Rouge to the Lafayette type area to set of for tonight and then we will sort of refine the forecast to the course of today to figure out where we are going to deploy.”
Hurricane Delta made landfall along Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula Wednesday morning with wind speeds greater than 85 mph.
Hirth says his biggest concern with this deployment is the potential growth of the storm as it moves through the Gulf of Mexico.
“There could be a pretty substantial storm surge with this storm” said Hirth. “It’s supposed to intensify to a Category 3 or 4 hurricane but then weaken a little as it potentially approaches the coast.”
This means there is a possibility of an overflow of rising water, which can be life-threatening to those around the area.
Hirth said according to the National Hurricane Center “there’s projected areas in Louisiana expected to get up to 10 to 12 ft.” He added “we are trying to be smart about how we deploy things by getting as close to the coast as we can but in a way where we stay out of the water.”
The intensity of Hurricane Delta isn’t set to be as strong as Laura from a wind perspective; therefore, Hirth says it’ll be interesting to compare the different impacts in a similar setting.
“Since it’s going to make landfall in a very similar area, it’ll be interesting to compare how the two storms and their wind fields are different from each other” said Hirth.