What Is a Hurricane Simulator?


Quick Answer

A hurricane simulator is a man-made device that replicates the weather conditions of a natural hurricane in a safely contained environment for study. They are comprised of a fan, water tank and wave generator. The simulator creates the conditions of a hurricane by using high-speed winds to mimic the weather disturbances researchers desire to observe.

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A hurricane simulator can generate winds up to 120 miles per hour, the strength of a Category 3 storm.

The simulator also allows for the study of heat levels in the water that may help researchers determine how to predict the strength and evacuation priority of an oncoming storm. The speed of the wind can be augmented in order to study different levels and types of waves and storms, if needed.

Salt water is used in the simulator to more accurately depict weather conditions as they naturally occur. The simulator creates realistic spray and sea foam as well, all of which may aid research into all aspects of hurricanes and how they work. Naturally occurring storms are difficult to observe outside of these controlled conditions as the devices used are often destroyed or lost.

Hurricane simulators are important as they allow public safety officials better determine if an area needs to be evacuated. They can also help engineers design better infrastructure to withstand powerful damage from the storms.

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