WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - As South Florida homeowners worry about how their homes will stand up to the weather during a hurricane or storm surge, researchers at Florida International University are studying the interaction between these weather systems and infrastructure.

Professor Arindam Gan Chowdhury with FIU’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department recently spoke with 7News about the study.

“We want to understand the interaction of those very strong storms with our built environment,” he said.

The National Science Foundation awarded FIU’s Extreme Events Institute a $12.8 million grant to design a full-scale testing facility capable of producing winds of 200 mph, along with a water basin to simulate storm surge and wave action in extreme winds.

“If we understand that interaction, then we should be able to design better infrastructure and better houses,” said Chowdhury.

FIU already has its Wall of Wind, a large-scale hurricane simulator capable of generating 157 mph wind speeds.

“We have to catch up with nature. Nature is throwing harder events at us,” said Richard Olson, director of the Extreme Events Institute.

Researchers want to have a facility that would simulate the effects of wind and water together.

The team at the institute said that as storms become more intense, the more important it is to understand them in order to protect communities.

“If we don’t get research and testing ahead of what is coming, we will be playing catch-up, and you do not want to be playing catch-up on a disaster,” said Olson.

After four years and a prototype, researchers said, they are hopeful to have a blueprint to design an actual facility.

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