Dialing Up a Storm

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WUSA meteorologist Kaitlyn McGrath braved hurricane-force winds during a visit to UMD's Glenn L. Martin Wind Tunnel. Photo credit: Robert Herschbach/University of Maryland.

With hurricane season kicking off on June 1, reporters from local and national media outlets stopped by the University of Maryland’s Glenn L. Martin Wind Tunnel (GLMWT) to talk with experts about the risks posed by high-velocity winds–and to experience them first-hand.

Univision national correspondent and Emmy Award winner Claudia Uceda and WUSA meteorologist Kaitlyn McGrath each braved winds of up to 111 miles per hour during their visits to the facility, which is used to test rotorcraft and a variety of other air, ground, and underwater vehicles, as well as buildings, antenna systems, and even equipment used in sports such as bobsledding and speed skating.

The GLMWT has traditionally opened its doors to reporters each summer during hurricane season. Director Jewel Barlow, Tunnel Engineer Benjamin Strobel, and student Kelin Torres were on hand to explain the workings of this unique UMD facility and the applications for which it is used. 

UMD civil and environmental engineering chair Nii Attoh-Okine, meanwhile, briefed the reporters on how infrastructure can be engineered to better withstand hurricanes and other forms of extreme weather, particularly given an  uptick in such events during recent years.

More than 2,200 tests with over 300 distinct clients have been conducted at the GLMWT to date. With a speed range of 2 to 230 miles per hour (Mach Number 0 to 0.3), winds in the GLMWT are generated by a large 2250 HP turbine that features blades from B-29s. For more information about media opportunities at the GLMWT, contact rherschb@umd.edu or phone 301-405-2057.

Glenn L. Martin Wind Tunnel Hurricane Season Coverage:

Univision: Cómo es estar en medio de un huracán? Este simulador permite sentir la fuerza de sus vientos

WUSA: Meteorologist Kaitlyn McGrath

Published July 5, 2023