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Wind Speeds and Drifting Snow around a Deflector Fence

Deflector fences can be designed as a measure to protect mountain roads from snowdrifts. In the case shown here, the mountain road in Norddalen, Norway is frequently used by the local power company's tracked vehicle to have access to their installation. A section of the road was often blocked by large snowdrifts that covered the entire roadway, big enough to prevent access even for a tracked vehicle.

Wind deflector fence on mountain road in Norddalen
Wind deflector fence on mountain road in Norddalen (above) and result from numerical simulation (below). Courtesy of Narvik Institute of Technology.

Numerical Modeling

Local weather observations indicated that the wind came more or less across the road, down from the mountain. Researchers at the Narvik Institute of Technology in Narvik, Norway were asked to design a deflector fence to blow the accumulated snow from the road. Numerical simulations were used to determine the dimensions of the fence.

The numerical simulations of wind velocities and drifting snow under the final fence design show that the increased wind speeds under the fence are strong enough to prevent buildups and to clear the snow from the road. Previously this road section had to be mechanically cleared from snow, but now it is never needed.