Step just outside the eye of the storm and feel the full force of a category 3 monster.
Hurricanes – massive geophysical events that can unleash massive destruction with wind speeds over 160 miles per hour and up to 2.4 trillion gallons of rainfall per day. These storms can generate so much energy that when they make landfall, they can produce a storm surge capable of reaching up to 20 feet and extending nearly 100 miles. Of course it goes without saying that this can often result in billions in damage and even death for those unfortunate enough to find themselves in such a predicament.
If for whatever reason you do one day find yourself face to face with such an epic force of nature, having an understanding of what to expect is one of the best things you can do to increase your chances of survival. That is what a research project at Hofstra University aims to do with their Category 3 Hurricane Landfall Virtual Reality Simulation.
360° rendition of the VR experience.
The VR project, conducted by six Hofstra University students under the direction of Dr Jase Bernhardt, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Geology, Environment, and Sustainability at Hofstra University, looks to improve storm warnings and and preparation by putting you right in the middle of a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 111 to 129 mph.
“I tested out VR for the first time when I first became a faculty member at Hofstra and was impressed with the realism,” said Dr Jase Bernhardt while speaking with VRScout. “I immediately thought that it would be an excellent tool for communicating the effects of extreme weather events in an engaging way, going beyond simple text, or 2D maps and graphics.”
The VR simulation begins with you looking out of a window from your living room as an incoming storm begins to creep closer and closer. You can hear emergency sirens blaring in the background along with intense wind and rain pounding outside your home as a dangerous assortment of debris violently whips past you and water quickly begins to rise beneath you.