After living in New Orleans for a number of years of my life, I can speak from experience that hurricanes can be serious business. So the more we can learn about how hurricanes and tropical storms work, the more prepared that we can be for disaster, and the more lives and property can be spared from nature’s fury. In the interest of learning more about these storms, one university has built the world’s only category 5 hurricane simulator.
The machine, dubbed the “Wall of Wind” (WoW) is basically an array of twelve massive, 700 horsepower fans, which can generate sustained winds of up to 157 MPH. Specialized technology allows it to emulate the wind turbulence of a real hurricane, and it can even simulate the driving rains of a real storm through its water-injection system.
The Wall of Wind is installed at Florida International University’s International Hurricane Research Center, at a cost of about $8 million (USD). The simulator will be used to test the structural integrity of building materials and construction techniques with the goal of improving safety and survivability of the deadliest of tropical weather.