LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech’s Research Professor and Hurricane Team Member Brian Hirth said they deployed 48 stick net platforms that were used to collect wind data over the weekend.
Their 9-member team–composed of three staff members, five graduate students and one alumnus–spent days capturing the data from hurricane Ida. What Hirth said was the biggest storm in U.S. history.
“Ida was a strong category 4 hurricane. It was one of the strongest hurricanes that ever made landfall in the United States ever,” Hirth said.
Hirth said the winds were so strong that one of their platforms didn’t survive. The flying debris from the storm left it in pieces. But their data is more than just the total wind.
“Our purpose is to understand the distribution of the wind field across the hurricane,” Hirth said. “We are obviously trying to understand what the maximum wind speed was, but it’s also how broad of an area of those substantial winds covered.”
The team is just now diving into the data they collected, but Hirth said they did notice one detail that was odd about the storm.
“What was interesting and what we are trying to understand is right after the storm made its initial landfall,” Hirth said. “By the time it worked its way into that area and interacted with our equipment, its winds were significantly weaker than when it made landfall, which is not what was expected.”