Newswise — One week after a team of Texas Tech researchers returned to Lubbock from collecting data during Hurricane Harvey, they’re on the road again. This time, the team is headed toward Florida where Hurricane Irma, which now ranks as the strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic, could make U.S. landfall as early as Sunday.

Using portable weather stations called StickNets, the team can measure wind, temperature, pressure and more as a hurricane comes ashore. The data will then be used to improve wind field modeling in the future. During Harvey, the team recorded wind speeds in excess of 100 mph, the highest ever measured by a StickNet probe.

Texas Tech Hurricane Research Team has been deploying instruments in the path of tropical systems since the late 1990s, and has collected valuable data from more than two dozen storms since then.


Brian Hirth, research professor, National Wind Institute,


  • “The wind data that we collected during Harvey was the strongest winds that the platforms that we at Texas Tech deploy—our StickNet platforms—(the) strongest winds that we have ever measured in any severe/significant wind event in the history of the StickNet program, which dates back a decade.”
  • “It’s been several years to maybe even a decade since we’ve seen the activity that has threatened the U.S. in a hurricane season as we have now seen this season.”
  • “The fact that Harvey made landfall and now Irma is now on its heels is not necessarily unusual, especially as we head into September, which is the peak month of the hurricane season.”
  • “There aren’t a lot of structures anywhere that are built for that type of wind. The building codes are probably the most strict in the state of Florida, so if there’s any state that’s ready for a significant hurricane, Florida is a state that is most ready. But that type of wind is going to cause substantial damage no matter where.”