Determining hurricane winds for forensic analysis

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner
Wednesday, 20 January 2010: 8:30 AM
B214 (GWCC)
Randolph J. Evans, ENSCO, Inc., Melbourne, FL

After the passage of hurricanes such as those that moved across Florida in 2004 and 2005, forensic meteorologists were hired to determine the peak sustained winds and wind gusts that occurred at specific locations where there was significant damage. The primary type of damage was roof failure but other structural damage or problems caused by water incursion were also of interest. A typical forensic analysis starts with obtaining data from the National Climatic Center for National Weather Service and Federal Aviation Authority stations. However, these stations are frequently located long distances from the location of interest where the damage occurred and very frequently these stations suffer power outages and do not record data when the peak winds occurred. The National Hurricane Center publishes hurricane reports on each storm and these reports include many official and unofficial data reports. Part of the job of the forensic meteorologist is to look at these reports as well as other sources of wind data and then determine which reports are valid, which are not valid and which ones are relevant to determining the peak winds at a specific location. This presentation gives examples and describes the process that was used in forensic analyses of Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Jeanne, and Wilma for estimating winds at locations of interest where damage occurred.