Kishor Mehta

P. W. Horn Professor of Civil Engineering, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX

Evolution of Assessment of Wind Speeds in Tornadoes

Friday, February 22, 2019– 4:30 pm

Location: Whitaker Lab 303, Lehigh University,5 E. Packer Avenue, Bethlehem, PA

Kishor Mehta is a P.W.Horn Professor of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering at Texas Tech University. He was Program Director for the Structural and Architectural Engineering and Co-Program Director for the Engineering for Natural Hazards at the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC during 2011-2015. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan and Ph.D. in Structural Engineering from the University of Texas-Austin. He is former Director of the Wind Science and Engineering Research Center (now the National Wind Institute) at Texas Tech. He was elected to the Distinguished Membership of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2002 and to the National Academy of Engineers (USA) in 2004.  He has been pursuing research in wind loads on buildings and structures since 1970. He chaired the committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers during 1976-1995 which produced the ASCE 7 wind load standards. He was Principal in developing EF-scale to assess intensity of tornadoes; NWS implemented the use of the scale in 2007. At Texas Tech he developed an interdisciplinary doctoral degree program in Wind Science and Engineering with NSF funding. This one-of-a kind program has graduated 30 students with Ph.D.s to date. He has more than 170 publications to his credit.

Evolution of Assessment of Wind Speeds in Tornadoes. Tornadoes are windstorms that are unpredictable and short lived. As a result it is difficult to put wind measuring instruments in the path of a tornado. Wind speeds in tornadoes are assessed with indirect methods of physical evidence of damage or with remote sensing. This presentation discusses evolution of assessment of wind speed in tornadoes since 1970.  In particular, it traces engineering based estimated (calculated where possible) wind speeds from damage, the development of F-scale by Dr. Ted Fujita in 1970 and its enhancement into EF-scale in this millennium. The presentation also describes current efforts to improve EF-scale and current/future efforts in remote sensing procedures using radars.