The hurricane simulator.

One of the exhibits at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, Florida is the hurricane simulator. I had the privilege of experiencing it during my visit there years ago.

The hurricane simulator is a small room that seats about 10 to 12 people. Before entering, visitors must put on safety goggles and protective earmuffs. After taking their seats, the door to the room is closed and the simulation begins.

At one side of the room is a vent from which a powerful fan blows air. At first the air comes out as gently as the morning breeze. Then the fan gradually increases the airflow as a digital gauge on the wall displays the speed of the simulated wind. The wind in the room gets stronger and stronger and soon reaches Category 1 hurricane strength, strong enough to stir up the soft foam bricks from the floor and send them flying all over the room. A few minutes later the fan slows down to a stop as the simulation ends.

I don’t know how much the hurricane simulator has changed since my visit, but from checking MOSI’s web site, it’s still there and waiting for you. Have a seat, if you dare.

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