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Texas Tech Hurricane Research Team Project History and Information
   

The Texas Tech Hurricane Intercept Team (TTUHIT) was created in 1998 in conjunction with the development of the Wind Engineering Mobile Instrument Tower Experiment (WEMITE). The goal of scientists from TTU's Atmospheric Science Group and the Wind Science and Engineering Research Center was to place ruggedized meteorological instrumentation in the the path of landfalling tropical cyclones. The towers would provide high resolution meteorological data in a region where conventional systems typically fail. The data can also be used by wind engineers to evaluate wind loads on structures within the hurricane environment. In 1998 the idea became a reality with the construction of WEMITE #1 . The platform was a 10-meter trailer mounted system, with wind speed and direction measurements at multiple levels. The trailer is anchored via guy wires and modified mobile home anchors. WEMITE #2 was the second trailer mounted platform built, with construction and testing completed in 1999. Pictures of WEMITE #1 and #2 can be seen below. Three 10-meter portable mesonet towers (PMT) were added to the project in 2002. The PMTs record wind speed and direction measurements at 10-m as well as the standard meteorological variables. A PMT is shown below. Since the project's inception in 1998, the TTU team has deployed tower systems in 25 named storms, including Hurricanes Frances and Ivan in 2004 and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. In addition to hurricane work, the WEMITE and PMT towers have also been used to document other high wind events such as thunderstorm outflows and synoptic scale wind events in West Texas.

The project grew in 2002 with the addition of the Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching Radars (SMART-R, www.nssl.noaa.gov/smartradars). Two mobile Doppler radars are shared with Oklahoma University, Texas A&M;, and the National Severe Storms Laboratory.The SMART radars have collected data in Hurricanes Lili, Isabel, and Frances. During Hurricane Frances, over 20 hrs of radar data was collected by both radars, making Frances one of the most well documented Hurricanes in history.

In 2006, smaller rapid deployment platforms were developed. The "Stick-net Project" began in 2005 with two prototypes completed by spring 2006. The systems were tested during the spring severe weather season. Each station measures the standard meteorlogical variables, with wind speed and direction measurements at 2.5 m. The platforms are scheduled to be deployed for the first time in a hurricane environment during the 2006 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Currently 10 Sticknets are available for deployment. The first 10 platforms as well as the transport trailer reached operational status in early August of 2006. The Stick-net platform was designed and constructed entirely by students from Texas Tech's Interdisciplinary IGERT Program and the Atmospheric Science Group. For more information on the "Stick-net" Project see our stick-net page.

For additional and technical information on each instrument platform please click on the picture title.

 
   
   

WEMITE #1 (WM1)                                                                             WEMITE #2 (WM2)

 

                                       

 
 
   

Portable Mesonet Tower (PMT)                                                                 STICK-NET (Prototype #1)

 

                                    

 
   

                                                      SMART-R and Mobile Mesonet