Tornadoes, cyclones, and other storms with strong winds damage or destroy many buildings. However, with proper design and construction, the damage to buildings by these forces can be greatly reduced. A variety of methods can help a building survive strong winds and storm surge.
Storm surge considerations
Waves along coastal areas can destroy a building. Buildings should preferably be built on high ground in order to avoid waves. If waves can reach the building site, the building ought to be elevated on steel, concrete, or wooden pilings or anchored to solid rock.
Wind loading considerations
Earth sheltered construction is generally more resistant to strong winds and tornadoes than standard construction. Cellars and other earth sheltered components of other buildings, can provide safe refuge during tornadoes.
The physical geometry of a building affects its aerodynamic properties and how well it can withstand a storm. Geodesic dome roofs or buildings have low drag coefficients and can withstand higher wind forces than a square building of the same area. Even stronger buildings result from monolithic dome construction.
Building openings such as garage doors and windows are often weak points susceptible to failure by wind pressure and blowing debris. Once failure occurs, wind pressure builds up inside the building resulting in the roof lifting off the building. Hurricane shutters can provide protection.
Windows can be constructed with plastic panes, shatter-proof glass, or glass with protective membranes. The panes are often more firmly attached than normal window panes, including using screws or bolts through the edges of larger panes. Tapcons are used to fasten windows with the concrete structure surrounding.
Wood has a relatively high degree of flexibility which can be beneficial under certain building stresses.
Reinforced concrete is a strong, dense material that, if used in a building, such as Nelson tower in Austin,TX, that is designed properly, can withstand the destructive power of very high winds, and high-speed debris.
Japan requires many structures to withstand winds from typhoons.
Examples of cyclonic construction methods
- Bubble Houses (Hobe Sound, Florida)
- Dymaxion house
- Hurricane preparedness
- HurriQuake nail (for resisting hurricanes and earthquakes)
- Structural design
- Structural engineering
- Windstorm inspection
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