Hurricane Andrew's Landfall in South Florida. Part I: Standardizing Measurements for Documentation of Surface Wind Fields

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  • 1 Hurricane Research Division NOAA/AOMI, Miami, Florida
  • | 2 Department of Civil Engineering, Clemson University Clemson, South Carolina
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Abstract

Hurricane Andrew's landfall in south Florida left a swath of destruction, including many failed anemometer recording systems. Extreme destruction led to exaggerated claims of the range of wind speed that caused such damage. The authors accumulated all available data from surface platforms at heights ranging from 2 to 60 m and reconnaissance aircraft at altitudes near 3 km. Several procedures were used to represent the various types of wind measurements in a common framework for exposure, measurement height, and averaging period. This set of procedures allowed documentation of Andrew's winds in a manner understandable to both meteorologists and wind engineers. The procedures are accurate to ±10% for marine and land observing platforms, and boundary layer model adjustments of flight-level winds to the surface compare to within 20% of the nearest surface measurements. Failure to implement the adjustment procedures may lead to errors of 15%–40%. Quality control of the data is discussed, including treatment of peak wind observations and determination of the radius of maximum winds at the surface.

Abstract

Hurricane Andrew's landfall in south Florida left a swath of destruction, including many failed anemometer recording systems. Extreme destruction led to exaggerated claims of the range of wind speed that caused such damage. The authors accumulated all available data from surface platforms at heights ranging from 2 to 60 m and reconnaissance aircraft at altitudes near 3 km. Several procedures were used to represent the various types of wind measurements in a common framework for exposure, measurement height, and averaging period. This set of procedures allowed documentation of Andrew's winds in a manner understandable to both meteorologists and wind engineers. The procedures are accurate to ±10% for marine and land observing platforms, and boundary layer model adjustments of flight-level winds to the surface compare to within 20% of the nearest surface measurements. Failure to implement the adjustment procedures may lead to errors of 15%–40%. Quality control of the data is discussed, including treatment of peak wind observations and determination of the radius of maximum winds at the surface.

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