Natural Disasters - Moving Toward Improved Resilience

Single Abstract

336758 - Remote Sensing for the ASCE Tornado Wind Speed Estimation Standard

Saturday, April 21
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
Location: 201A

Improved knowledge of tornado climatology and intensity is necessary for structural engineers to design structures that provide safety for life and property. In the absence of tornado wind speed measurements, studies of damage to man-made structures as well as natural features (e.g., forests) are central to the estimation of tornado wind speeds needed for future structural designs. Remote-sensing technologies provide critical evidence regarding tornado damage at a multitude of spatial and spectral scales – including the path level, building level, and member/connection level. Earth-observing satellites yield information that is not visible from ground surveys, as well as information outside the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum, thus enabling analysts to detect tornado tracks that might otherwise go unobserved and would lead to incorrect climatology and subsequent risk assessments. Satellite and aerial images furthermore provide a basis for rapid determination of EF-Scale damage levels to individual structures. At the finest spatial resolutions, lidar and digital photogrammetry techniques enable 3D reality capture of tornado damage for highly detailed forensic studies of tornado effects. The forthcoming ASCE Standard for Tornado Wind Speed Estimation will provide critical guidance for the application of these remote-sensing technologies, at a full range of scales, to achieve more uniform and consistent estimation of tornado intensities for all stakeholders, including structural design engineers, forensic engineers, atmospheric scientists, and risk modelers.

J. Arn Womble

Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering
West Texas A&M University

J. Arn Womble is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, TX. He is a graduate of the wind engineering programs at Colorado State University and Texas Tech University, and he has examined the effects of high winds on structures since 1989. His consulting engineering background includes structural design, wind-tunnel testing of structures, and failure analysis. He worked extensively in engineering expert-witness investigations for wind/water damage causation studies in the unprecedented insurance litigation following Hurricane Katrina. His research emphasizes the use of remote-sensing technologies for visual and automated wind damage assessment, and he is the recipient of the National Science Foundation's most prestigious honor - the CAREER Award, which enables further research into the remote sensing of wind damage at a multitude of spatial scales, ranging from tornado path level to member/connection level. He chairs the Remote Sensing Subcommittee of the ASCE Standards Committee for Wind Speed Estimation in Tornadoes and is a member of the ASCE Enhanced Fujita Scale Committee, which is responsible for updates of the EF Scale.


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336758 - Remote Sensing for the ASCE Tornado Wind Speed Estimation Standard

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