Barbie doll in Kettering University wind tunnel shows strength of Hurricane Irma

ABC12 News

FLINT (WJRT) (9/6/2017) - Winds from Hurricane Irma are expected to be so strong when the powerful storm makes landfall in the United States that standing up straight will be impossible.

Peak wind gusts from the storm could hit 185 mph. A Barbie doll in a wind tunnel at Kettering University in Flint demonstrated out powerful the wind will be for people in the storm's path.

Kettering instructor Ray Rust whipped up winds to 128 mph, which pushed the doll's legs off the ground.

"At least it lets you see where the forces are going to load on you and you notice that it's swept her arms and legs back," Rust said. "So if you were in a real hurricane, you would have to fighting that and the buffering would throw you off balance."

Standing in a hurricane would actually be tougher than inside the wind tunnel, because winds from a hurricane would buffet you from all sides while the wind tunnel only pushes wind from one place.

Officials with the National Hurricane Center are calling Hurricane Irma the strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. The storm should not be taken lightly.

"The force we saw here was only a few pounds, but in a real hurricane a full size person, you'd have to scale that," Rust said.

Irma is forecast to hit the Florida Keys by Saturday.

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