Wind can come in the form of hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, microbursts or downdrafts. There are high winds and gusts in some instances that last just a few minutes, and there are sustaining winds that may last for days. While wind can be a powerful asset, it can also pose a significant danger at times. On an individual basis, it can be valuable to understand the impact of high winds and how we can best protect our homes and personal property from wind damage. There are many ways to reinforce a home against wind damage — some are simple enough to DIY while others may require professional assistance.
In this guide, we hope to help increase understanding of how wind can put stress on a home. It is our goal to help improve the appreciation of this powerful force and provide advice in best protecting a property on almost every level to help minimize damage from large storms.
Why should you prepare for high winds, hurricanes, and tornados? The simple reason is to better protect you and your household and the investment you have made in your home.
This perhaps can best be driven home by statistics.
All but one of the ten costliest hurricanes have occurred since 2004.
2012’s Hurricane Sandy severely impacted 16 different states.
Since the mid-1800s, 34 states have been impacted directly by a tropical storm or hurricane.
The United States records over 1,000 tornadoes each year.
Altogether, the costs of the 16 separate weather events in the U.S. in 2017 that exceeded $1 billion each added up to over $306 billion.
Hurricane force winds can impact an area for 12 to 18 hours but a slow-moving storm could leave hurricane force winds in place for 24 hours or more.
Hurricanes are ranked on the Saffir-Simpson Scale which places them in five categories. Category 1 is from 74-95 mph, Category 2 from 96-110 mph, Category 3 from 111-120 and Category 4 from 130-156. The most devastating Category 5 hurricanes range from 157 mph and above.
Tornadoes are rated on the Fajita Scale which determines an EF0 tornado to be “light” at 65 to 85 mph. An EF1 tornado is designated as one with winds from 86 mph to 110 and is “moderate”. A “considerable” tornado is an EF2 with winds ranging from 111 mp to 135 mph. An EF3 spans from 136 mph to 165 mph and is considered “severe”. At 166 mph to 200 mph an EF4 is referred to as “devastating” and an EF5 at 201 mph+ is determined to be “incredible”.
Tornadoes and hurricanes are a reality that should be accounted for. There are steps, however, that we can take to mitigate damage.
In many areas, the odds are pretty high that – at some point – a home will be subject to high winds. The winds may be from a hurricane, tornado or even a straight line or mountain wind. Some areas experience blizzard scale winds. Protecting a home starts with inspecting weak points and areas subject to damage like roofs, windows, doors and garage doors. Inspect siding more frequently and take care of our trees, trimming them when needed and removing them as necessary. Make sure your home is safe and have plans in place for severe weather events.