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Hurricane-Resistant Construction- Part 1

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August 2, 2016

Understanding Hurricane Dangers Before Building

Building in cyclone prone coastal areas demands hurricane-resistant construction. Building the strongest possible structure requires thoughtful planning. Risking your building investment— or your life— by choosing a sub-standard building system is not an option.

Hurricane-Resistant Construction part 1Historical Hurricane Background

The first record of a U.S. tropical cyclone was in 1495, when Christopher Columbus and his crews encounter a storm on their voyage to the New World.

In June 1502, on his fourth voyage to the New World, Columbus anchored in a natural harbor in Hispaniola (now the Dominican Republic). Columbus warned the local governor that he believed a huge storm was imminent. Publicly laughing at Columbus’s prediction, the governor ordered a fleet of treasure ships to leave immediately for Spain. They sailed right into the teeth of the fierce storm.

RHINO Hurricane Andrew infographicTwenty-five ships sank in the storm. Four managed to limp back to Hispaniola. Only one ship arrived in Spain. Over 500 souls were lost in the storm. Tucked in on the far side of the island, Columbus’ four ships survived with little damage.

What’s in a Name?

Names like Andrew, Carla, Camille, Hazel, Hugo, Sandy, and Wilma strike fear into the hearts of those who survived these devastating hurricanes.

To reduce confusion about simultaneous tropical storms, meteorologists began naming tropical storms 66 years ago.

The first storms received phonetic names. Based on the military’s radio alphabet designation, developed in 1941 for the Army and Navy, meteorologists named storms Able, Baker, Charlie, etc. In 1953, weather experts began calling tropical storms by female names, beginning with A, B, C, and so forth. Starting with the 1978 storm season, alternating alphabetical male and female names designated each tropical storm.

There are six separate lists of available storm names. Each list covers one year. On the seventh year, the rotation repeats.

If a hurricane is exceptionally destructive and memorable, the appellation is retired. Meteorologists assign a new name to replace the old.

Some of the memorable Atlantic storms retired into hurricane history include:

Sandy (2012)
• Ike (2008)
• Dennis, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma (2005)
• Charley, Ivan, Jeanne, and Frances (2204)
• Allison (2001)
• Floyd (1999)
• Fran (1996)
• Opal (1995)
• Andrew (1992)
• Hugo (1989)
• Alicia (1983)
• Frederick (1979)
• Carmen (1974)
• Camille (1969)
• Beulah (1967)
• Carla (1961)
• Connie (1955)
• Carol, Edna, and Hazel (1954)

When is a Tropical Storm a Hurricane?

Hurricane season officially runs from June 1 – November 30.

We are fast approaching the peak of the hurricane season, when the most ferocious storms tend to develop. Known as the “Cape Verde Season,” it runs from mid-August to the end of September. Tropical depressions form on the African coastline during the heart of hurricane season, passing over the Cape Verde Islands as they churn across the Atlantic.

The Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale, developed by wind engineer Herb Saffir and meteorologist Bob Simpson, classifies the intensity of a storm by its sustained wind speed. (The National Weather Service designates a “sustained” wind speed as the average wind measured at 33-feet above ground for one minute.)

The Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale:

Tropical Depression:           38 miles per hour (m.p.h.) or less wind speed
Tropical Storm:                     39 – 73 m.p.h. wind speed
Category 1 Hurricane:          74 – 95 m.p.h. wind speed
Category 2 Hurricane:         96-110 m.p.h. wind speed
Category 3 Hurricane:         111-130 m.p.h. wind speed
Category 4 Hurricane:         131-155 m.p.h. wind speed
Category 5 Hurricane:         156 m.p.h. or greater wind speed

Storms receive a name when they reach the tropical storm status with sustained winds speeds of 39 m.p.h. or more.

Meteorologists consider storms Category 3 and above as “major” hurricanes.


Get Hooked on RHINO Steel Building Systems

RHINO Steel Building Systems sells pre-engineered metal building systems in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. All RHINO structures are guaranteed to meet or exceed every current building code in your area— for the LIFETIME of the structure!

As a result of the devastation inflicted on the region by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Dade County has the toughest building code in the U.S. RHINO has never been refused a permit— not even in Dade County, Florida.

RHINO buildings create sturdy, adaptable, and economical low-rise structures for agricultural, aviation, commercial, industrial, and personal use.

Call 855.272.8975 toll free for more information hurricane resistant framing. Get all your questions answered by a RHINO metal building specialist right now.

Do not miss part 2 of this series, which details the effects of some of the major hurricanes in the U.S.


- by Bruce Brown,
Steel Building Systems, Inc

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