Hurricane Eyewall Winds and Structural Response of Wind Turbines

Julie Lundquist, Amber Kapoor, Slimane Ouakka, Sanjay Arwade, Matthew Lackner, Andrew Myers, Rochelle Worsnop, George Bryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus Citations


This paper describes the analysis of a wind turbine and support structure subject to simulated hurricane wind fields. The hurricane wind fields, which result from a large eddy simulation of a hurricane, exhibit features such as very high gust factors (>1.7), rapid direction changes (30 degrees in 30 s), and substantial veer. Wind fields including these features have not previously been used in an analysis of a wind turbine, and their effect on structural loads may be an important driver of enhanced design considerations. With a focus on blade root loads and tower base loads, the simulations show that these features of hurricane wind fields can lead to loads that are substantially in excess of those that would be predicted if wind fields with equally high mean wind speeds but without the associated direction change and veer were used in the analysis. This result, if further verified for a range of hurricane and tropical storm simulations, should provide an impetus for revisiting design standards.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)89-104
Number of pages16
JournalWind Energy Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

See NREL/JA-5000-74194 for article as published in Wind Energy Science Discussions

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-76101


  • hurricane
  • large-eddy simulation
  • response
  • wind energy
  • wind turbine


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