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Studying the causes of large storms

Studying the causes of large storms

Civil engineer Nick Fang is charting rainfall data to help Texans prepare for future storms. 

The associate professor is leading a $347,000 project with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District, to develop better methods to characterize, predict, and cope with large Texas storms growing more unpredictable due to climate change. 

The project will consider weather data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Weather Service, and other services and publications. Dr. Fang also will work with state agencies like the Texas Water Development Board to study the causes of large storms and their hydrologic impacts. 

“We will look for spatial patterns, trends, and causes of these large storms based on the rainfall data we collect,” says Fang, who is also the Robert S. Gooch Endowed Faculty Fellow in Civil Engineering. “We hope to better prepare Texans for these storm events and through that save lives and property.” 

His team will also build an inventory examining data from all storms that had a duration of longer than six hours, including events with return periods from two years to 1,000 years. Since Texas is a large state with many different environments, ecologies, and meteorological forces, the researchers will need to determine storm probabilities for different areas and establish sound engineering design methods for building a disaster-resilient Texas.

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