Synopsis: The Weather Research & Forecasting (WRF) Model is widely utilized by the scientific community to evaluate historical as well as forecasted climatic weather events (including wind). Most recently, WRF modeling is being used by utilities to inform storm-hardening strategies, resource planning, and wildfire behavior modeling. These models are extremely useful and allow utilities to review wind events over large regions, isolating areas and ROWs for prioritized management. TO assist utilities with corridor risk management, Formation implemented a high resolution WRF modeling framework that quantifies wind event characteristics over the last 30 years for 4 main event types and 2 dominant wind patterns. Historical high wind events were analyzed to identify trees within corridors that experience high wind events frequently or experience extreme events that are infrequent, but hazardous. The results of the WRF modeling were augmented with high resolution LiDAR data to assess wind loading on individual trees and stands. This includes analyzing important surface and vegetation characteristics that determine susceptibility and risk to windthrow. The results of the analysis assist the client with further prioritization of vegetation management activities along electric transmission corridors in high fire threat areas. Formation's analysis is also leveraged to understand risk at the transmission line level during severe weather events and as an input to transmission structure failure analysis modeling.
Susan Jackson & Bob Bell