Hurricanes, tornados, and severe wind storms can occur anytime. While you can’t prevent severe winds from occurring, there are simple, cost-effective ways to protect your property to minimize damage and stay safe.
Mitigating the effects of wind starts with strengthening your home to be able to sustain high winds as well as improving your property layout to reduce wind damage to your home. Making the right investments to protect your home can not only physically protect you from dangerous winds, but can also help reduce costly wind damage to your home.
Aerodynamics and roof materials can make a difference on severe wind’s ability to lift it off the building or minimize impact.
Strengthening the roof
A properly secured and reinforced roof built to modern building codes can prevent wind from lifting it off the house. The best roof shape for high winds will have multiple panels (such as a hip roof with four slopes) to reduce wind loads. A metal roof is also extremely wind resilient.
Windows and doors
Once the wind of a hurricane or severe storm gets inside a house, the home’s structure most likely will not survive. Windows and doors are often the weakest areas of the building for winds to enter.
Installing impact-resistant windows and doors, or covering them with shutters
These can prevent wind-borne debris from breaking windows and damaging the interior of the home. In many cases, installing hurricane impact windows or shutters may lower property insurance costs, offering another financial benefit.
Outdoor objects can easily get picked up by high winds and become missile objects that can break windows or damage walls, doors or other areas of a building.
Securing outdoor objects
Outdoor objects such as patio furniture, grills, and trash cans should be secured or brought inside during a severe windstorm to prevent them from becoming projectiles.
Nearby trees or branches thereof may be blown over and fall on a building. Dead trees and branches can easily get picked up by high winds and become missile objects that can break windows or damage walls, doors or other areas of a building.
Trimming trees and vegetation
Some types of trees and vegetation around the building can act as natural windbreaks in the event of storms, but if they are too close to the home, or have dead limbs, they can also cause damage. Be sure not to place too close and trim regularly.
A storm shelter can withstand extreme weather conditions.
Building a safe room
A safe room built to withstand severe winds can provide a safe place for the occupants to take shelter during a storm. Storm shelters can typically be made out of concrete or metal or be located underground.
One way to offset the cost of wind damage is to invest in windstorm insurance, which can help reduce your financial risk and allow you to recover more quickly after a severe event such as a hurricane or tornado. Windstorm insurance is a special type of property-casualty insurance that protects policyholders from property damage caused by winds. Windstorm insurance is usually offered in the form of a rider on a standard homeowners insurance. Check your policy to see if you are sufficiently covered or consider purchasing it separately if you are not.
Backed by decades of innovation and industry-leading technology, LP Structural Solutions offers a portfolio of proven products that work together to Defend Your Build®. LP’s high-performance panels and strong framing technology helps protect your home against hail or high water, fire or heat for greater resiliency. Find Solutions on LP’s Website.
Extreme wind events don’t need to be disasters. As a commercial business owner, understanding your wind risk is critical to success. Now that you’ve begun this resilience journey to explore the natural hazards that impact your property or your portfolio of buildings, it’s time to think about what strategies you can implement to mitigate your risk.
Identify vulnerabilities in your buildings and make changes to harden those components. For mitigating wind risk, strategies include strengthening the anchorage of exterior equipment exposed to extreme winds, upgrading building envelope components to be more wind-resistant, making sure important contents or inventory are out of harm’s way, and removing debris around the site that could be picked up as windborne missiles.
During major wind events, disruptions to critical lifelines can last from several hours to multiple days. Direct damage to equipment on site, like an exterior transformer or storage tank, can also disrupt power or water. If your operations depend on continuous power, water, or gas supply, do you have back-up systems in place to see you through utility disruptions? Redundancy in critical systems can help minimize downtime, especially during utility outages.
Developing a wind recovery plan can help you take immediate action and reduce the impact of extreme wind events on your business. Back up your data using a cloud-based service, store a redundant supply of critical inventory off-site, and gameplan “what-if” scenarios that outline what actions you might take if they were to happen (example: what if unsafe weather conditions require evacuation of the building or entire surrounding area?). Damage to buildings can take weeks to months to repair, but many delays may impede your ability to start these repairs, like securing funding or hiring contractors. These impending delays can more than double your total downtime, but you can reduce this downtime through preparation: set aside emergency funds so that work can start while you wait for insurance payouts and pre-identify and possibly retain contractors that could do the repair work. Save yourself time later by preparing now.
For portfolios large and small, it can be daunting to navigate next steps, including which mitigation options work best and how to prioritize upgrades across your portfolio to make the most of your limited budget.
The resilience consultants and engineers at Arup can advise your organization and customize your path forward to make your business more resilient in the face of natural hazards.
Communities also have an important role to play in protecting their residents from wind risks and damage. Communities that take these steps can reduce wind damage and deaths.
Communities can construct walls, fences, or other structures to block or redirect wind. Trees and other vegetation can also act as natural windbreaks and can help to reduce the wind’s speed and force and protect homes and other properties in a community.
Setting building standards and regulations can help mitigate wind damage in the future and retrofitting old buildings can help reduce damage. Communities can encourage or require buildings to be designed in ways that reduce wind damage, such as by using wind-resistant materials and construction techniques.
Communities can educate residents about the risks of severe wind and how to prepare for and respond to hurricanes, tornadoes or severe wind storms. Offer regular training and resources on how to prepare and respond to a hurricane or tornado so that the community members can mitigate their risk prior to disaster, and can recover efficiently should one strike.
A changing environment means higher temperatures and changing humidity, creating conditions which facilitate hurricane formation and intensification..