RenRe to Develop ‘WOW’ Hurricane Study Model

February 23, 2007

RenaissanceRe announced that it will participate in a project, conducted by Florida International University’s (FIU) International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC) and WeatherPredict Consulting, Inc., a U.S. affiliate of RenRe, to develop “The RenaissanceRe “Wall of Wind” (WOW).

The bulletin described WOW as an “array of six industrial fans that will replicate Category 4 hurricane conditions with 130-140 mph winds and rain in a laboratory environment, allowing scientists to precisely study the impact of severe storms on physical structures and building materials and methods.”

“A critical component of minimizing both loss of life and property damage in a hurricane is to better understand the impact of these storms on our buildings,” explained Craig W. Tillman, President of WeatherPredict Consulting. “While substantial resources have been devoted to analyzing hurricanes and improving weather prediction, little scientific research has been done on the ways in which hurricanes affect the building materials that protect us.”

“The valuable scientific data collected from testing on the RenaissanceRe Wall of Wind will help storm-exposed areas like Florida identify superior construction designs, materials and techniques, thus mitigating insured losses and building more resilient communities”, Tillman continued.

The fans will be powered by a race car engine with 502 horsepower. It consists of six rotating propellers inside 7 ft round aluminum ducts. Wall-mounted and free-standing wind-driven rain gauges will measure vertical and horizontal rainfall intensities. The resultant wind/rain field will travel 10-15 feet from the exit of the WOW to the test subject – such as a full-size single-story house – where instrumentation and high-speed cameras will monitor the results. RenRe plans on completing the testing facility by late summer.

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