SC research facility simulates hurricanes, natural disasters

Richburg, SC - RICHBURG, SC (NBC) - A new Natural Disaster Research Center, currently under construction near Richburg, will house the angry aspects of Mother Nature.

"We're really focused here on wind, fire, rain and hail," explained Julie Rochman, president of the Institute for Business and Home Safety. "The types of things that cause a lot of damage, billions of dollars in damages in this country every year."

The facility will put full-scale houses up against hurricanes and other wind-driven natural disasters.

"We'll be the only lab on the planet that can do what we do, which is put them on our turntable and test them in a very realistic replication of natural hazard conditions," Rochman said.

The highlight of the facility is a giant bank of fans. There will be 105 of them, each about 6 feet in diameter and capable of producing wind similar to those in a category 4 hurricane.

The $30 million facility will also study things like the flight of burning embers in wildfires.

The center will start replicating hurricanes this fall, just as the real hurricane season winds down.

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