With a seemingly increasing threat of extreme weather events, designing buildings with resiliency to withstand potentially devastating high wind forces is one of the greatest challenges that commercial and residential construction professionals face today. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States averages some 10,000 thunderstorms, 5,000 floods, 1,300 tornadoes and two Atlantic hurricanes each year, resulting in billions of dollars in damage as a result.
Most U.S. regions are at risk of these high wind threats, which can negatively impact even the most well designed communities. In fact, 26 percent of U.S. households – approximately 30 million – are in wind zones with expected wind speeds of 110 mph (3-second gust) or greater, according to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH). The good news is, significant damage can be avoided through quality building design and new construction methods that can stand the test of time. Given wood’s resilient properties in high wind events, wood construction has established a history of proven performance when it comes to meeting the challenges of wind-resistive design, due in part to the material’s strength and durability.