Hurricanes Katrina, Isaac and Sandy were all devastating, deadly storms that cost billions of dollars. But could have fewer lives been lost and damage not have been as costly? A new study says yes thanks to offshore wind farms.
"It's a holy grail to try to find a way to weaken the impact of a hurricane before landfall, and something relatively passive like this, at least on the surface, is attractive," said Bill Read, Hurricane Expert for the Local 2 Severe Weather Team.
A professor at Stanford University ran computer simulations on Katrina, Isaac and Sandy as they made landfall. One of the simulations placed 78,000 wind turbines in the Gulf of Mexico right in Katrina's storm path. He concluded that the turbines would weaken the storms peak winds by 92 mph and decrease the storm surge by 79 percent.
As great of a breakthrough this would be, putting into practice may not be very feasible.
"The practical end is the hardest part. I can't image finding the space to put all of these all along our coast. You need to put them where people are if they do work," said Read.
Along the Texas coast, there are two companies that have leases to build offshore wind farms over 50,000 acres of coastal water.
However, the biggest farm would only have 200 turbines, far less than the study's tens of thousands it used in the simulations.