Remote-sensing applications to windstorm damage assessment



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Texas Tech University


The collection and study of windstorm damage information is critical for the understanding of wind effects on the built environment, for measuring progress in construction technologies and mitigation measures, and for (ultimately) helping to build disaster-resilient communities. Rapid and thorough documentation of damage is crucial but has not generally been possible in the past due to limited time (prior to cleanup and repair efforts), manpower, and access to affected areas. Modern remote-sensing technologies, including high-resolution satellite imagery, have proven effective for the documentation and study of damage caused by multiple hazards, such as earthquakes. In conjunction with traditional forensic damage assessments, these technologies also provide a means for enhancing the speed, thoroughness, coverage area, and consistency of windstorm damage documentation. Ongoing developments in the fields of remote sensing and digital image processing can eventually lead to the computer-automated detection of multi-hazards damage. Each individual hazard has unique damage mechanisms and, therefore, unique remote-sensing signatures that must be identified and quantified for use in eventual automation. This research examines the use of remote-sensing technologies for damage assessment in multiple hazards and presents a framework for the automated application of remote-sensing technologies specifically to the windstorm hazard. This study utilizes remote-sensing data and corresponding ground-truthing field data from recent significant windstorms to demonstrate the use of remote-sensing technologies in collecting windstorm damage data. This study also examines the remote-sensing signatures of windstorm damage to buildings and demonstrates the use of remote-sensing and digital-image-processing technologies for making quantitative assessments of windstorm damage to buildings. This research finally provides suggestions for future developments in the remote-sensing assessment of windstorm damage.