Natural Disasters

Full Session with Abstracts

505563-3 - Three-Dimensional Damage Scene Captures for Hurricane Harvey Forensics Investigations

Friday, April 26
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Location: Celebration 7-8

Hurricane Harvey’s landfall near Rockport, TX in August 2017 caused widespread damage to various structural typologies, including many steel and light-gauge metal structures. The various damage states of these steel structures, coupled with contours of hurricane wind speeds based on actual measurements, provide valuable indications to the resistances of the various components of these steel structures. Forensic investigations of structures damaged by severe windstorms give valuable insights into wind speeds, wind-structure interactions, and effective construction techniques. These investigations further assist engineers in designing structures to better protect life and property. However, the detailed measurements of structural members and deflections have traditionally been difficult to obtain due to time constraints (before the removal of damage evidence in cleanup operations) and safety concerns (e.g., precarious structures and debris fields). Recently, lidar and UAS platforms (commonly known as drones), have made rapid, non-contact data collection feasible for the purposes of three-dimensional scene preservation and subsequent detailed analysis. The project team conducted an NSF-RAPID reconnaissance mission for the collection of perishable damage data for steel structures damaged by Hurricane Harvey. This presentation work details the subject selection criteria, data acquisition methods for various types of structures in the damage reconnaissance, and the public dissemination of the damage data through DesignSafe-ci.

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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505563-3 - Three-Dimensional Damage Scene Captures for Hurricane Harvey Forensics Investigations

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