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Saturday, April 13, 2024

What Causes Wind Damage

By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff

Wind damage is caused by, well, wind. Wind can cause major damage to structures and other items based on sheer velocity. Much of the damage attributed to hurricanes and tropical storms is, in fact, the result of the wind contained in the storm. It becomes important to understand the formation of damaging winds and what can be done to protect your home or business.

Wind damage basically comes in two distinct forms - damage caused by wind and damage caused by tornadoes. Normal wind doesn't always reach high enough velocity to cause damage, but can produce momentary gusts that may be enough to knock over trees or blow down fences.

How Wind Damage is Measured

Wind damage is measured on the Fujita scale:

  • EF-0) Light damage: Wind speeds of 65-85mph can cause some damage to shingles and siding.
  • EF-1) Moderate damage: Wind speeds of 86-110mph cause considerable damage. Trees can be uprooted, single-wide mobile homes can be overturned and flag poles bend.
  • EF-2) Considerable damage: Wind speeds of 111-135mph can destroy most single-wide mobile homes, permanent homes can be shifted off their foundations, flag poles collapse and softwood trees debark.
  • EF-3) Severe damage: Wind speeds of 136-165mph will debark hardwood trees and destroy small portions of homes.
  • EF-4) Devastating damage: Wind speeds of 166-200mph cause complete destruction of well-built homes and large sections of school buildings.
  • EF-5) Incredible damage: Wind speeds of 200mph causes significant structural deformation of mid- and high-rise buildings.

Wind Damage from Tornadoes

Tornadoes may be best described as a violent column of rotating air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. Tornado winds may reach in excess of 250mph, which basically means that anything the tornado touches is either severely damaged or completely destroyed. There are more tornadoes in the United States than in any other country in the world with over a thousand reported every year. Most of these occur in the southern plains states and an area of the Midwest known as Tornado Alley.

Tornado warnings are often short notice, and in the event of one, you should take cover immediately. If the tornado is upon you, then you should not leave your home. Take refuge in a basement, or if you do not have a basement, in the tub in your bathroom. If you find yourself caught outside and in a tornado’s path, do not attempt to outrun it. You will lose. Find the lowest area of ground such as a gulley or ditch and lay as flat as possible.

Also keep in mind that there is serious risk of injury due to debris and other objects being blown about by a high velocity wind.

Recommended Reading
Preparing for Hurricane Season
Be Ready for Hurricanes
Staying Safe During a Hurricane

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