May 5, 1999 LUBBOCK -- Texas Tech University's Wind Engineering Research Center teams have arrived in Oklahoma to perform damage documentation on the tornado that struck Oklahoma City Monday (May 3).
The Wind Engineering Research Center has conducted lab research and on-site documentation of windstorm disasters since 1970. The institute's faculty and students routinely study the causes and effects of tornadoes, hurricanes, hailstorms and windstorms, seeking answers to reduce the damage these severe storms can cause.
In Oklahoma City, Texas Tech's research teams will investigate how the tornado affected residential shelters and engineering structures such as schools, day care centers and nursing homes. Having designed an above-ground in-residence shelter, which has been approved and endorsed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Texas Tech researchers are continually looking for information that will help improve the shelter.
Texas Tech researchers also will attempt to positively determine the strength and Fujita Tornado Scale class of Monday's tornado by reviewing the path of the storm and the extent of the damage. This information will aid researchers as they develop new storm shelters and building construction standards.
The field information will be combined with laboratory documentation, specifically data gathered from the Texas Tech wind cannon, to fine-tune on-going research into tornadoes and severe storms.
Note to reporters: For more information contact Eric Wesley, information specialist, Texas Tech News and Publications, at (806) 790-1937 (mobile). Eric is on-site in Oklahoma to help assist in arranging interviews. Michael Sommermeyer, associate director, Texas Tech News and Publications, also can be reached in Lubbock at (806) 742-2136.
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