Normal houses should be able to survive a direct hit Cat 2 hurricane
(correct me if I am wrong). A direct hit from anything above that
will cause damage however strong you build it. Once there is damage
and the rainwater/floofwater gets in the inside contents that can
absorb water are toast. And the stronger and heavier your building
the more damage there will be to your house and to your neighbor's as
the parts tear off in the high wind or flood surge. You also don't
want to build a house so heavy that it looks like a prison and cost
more than one. You'll never pass the guidelines for neighbourhood
architectural conformity anyway.
So we can presume that your house will look be built like one of those
antebellum houses that makes New Orleans so charming. It should also
be a two storey house so that you will have a place of refuge in case
If I were to rebuild what I will do is to design a house that will
have a concrete structural frame that will stand intact in a Cat 5
storm. Presumably the main panels and outlets for utility llines,
water pipes and other services will be attached to or be protected by
this concrete frame. This is so that while the service runs to the
rest of the house can be destroyed one can easily re-establish new
connections to the main panels and outlets.
Everything else of regular construction can tbe damaged, be blown or
washed away but the frame stands. That way I can easily tear down the
roof and walls and quickly rebuild without having to bulldoze the
whole structure or having to resubmit the building approvals.
A refinement to this house design will be to make the first floor
level a sacrificial part that a storm surge can wash away without
bringing the second floor with it, or damaging the structure of the
house. I saw some TV shots of a breachfront house in the Carolinas
that survived such a surge. That left the house looking like it was
built on stilits. The second floor was damaged and not worth
salvaging. But had someone taken refuge there (none) that person
would have survived. A conventionally build house would have been
totalled and killed everyone within it.
One can understand the desire to stay in and sit out the storm, mainly
to prevent looting, and perhaps to fix fixable damage on the fly
before it becomes a big one. The chances of a direct hurricane hit are
small enough for most homeowners to take this risk. The chances of a
direct hit is nonetheless there and it will seem very stupid by then
to risk life and limb for a house.
Therefore the problem should be recast as how can one stay for a less
threatening storm and yet survive the perfect storm?
The answer will be a storm-proof safe room built on top of this
concrete structure. It will probably be the size of a large bathroom
and made of steel or concrete for protection against flying debris or
tree falls. It should be capable of being buttoned down and float
upright like a boat should it be dislodged. At that level of storm
intensity there is no longer any consideration of living in it to
guard your property. All you want is to survive the perfect storm and
get the hell out, a stay of less than 48 hours.
Disagreement: If you're going to this length, you should use a more
reasonable figure for time-to-rescue of 7 days. 72 hours
is the figure used for people who are trying to do the best
they can with what's available. 72 hours is what you should
keep in the trunk of your car.
| >The answer will be a storm-proof safe room built on top of this
| >concrete structure. It will probably be the size of a large bathroom
| >and made of steel or concrete for protection against flying debris or
| >tree falls. It should be capable of being buttoned down and float
| >upright like a boat should it be dislodged. At that level of storm
| >intensity there is no longer any consideration of living in it to
| >guard your property. All you want is to survive the perfect storm and
| >get the hell out, a stay of less than 48 hours.
| Disagreement: If you're going to this length, you should use a more
| reasonable figure for time-to-rescue of 7 days. 72 hours
| is the figure used for people who are trying to do the best
| they can with what's available. 72 hours is what you should
| keep in the trunk of your car.
Seems to me Noah planned for a longer stay.
Also seems his structure was a bit bigger too.
| Seems to me Noah planned for a longer stay.
| Also seems his structure was a bit bigger too.
| You were there?
There are days when I feel as if I were.
Mostly, I have to go by what I read.
Bottom line is 30 days! Katrina shows areas still under flood waters, well
after a week. The object is NOT rescue! I maintain 6 months food and water
in my food cellar. This will allow me to ride out the worst and be able to
relocate to safer area if need be and still maintain a solid homefront!
Precisely my point...to do what HMFIC wants in general is a very
difficult and expensive task. You can be prepared for ordinary events
pretty well and make things a lot easier on yourself, but in a
catastrophic situation things are likely to get out of hand for almost
everybody in the affected area.
I design large scale custom homes on the barrier islands off the coast of SW
These homes are inherently expensive for several reasons, not just because
of the so called *personal greed* of the owners.
I've heard that upwards of 60% of the residents of NOLA were at the poverty
level or lower.
The buildings that housed these people probably won't be rebuilt.
I've also heard that most of those folks in that 60% have already been
relocated, some have jobs and are moving on with their lives, probably
aren't concerned with moving back to NOLA.
So what's left?
The infrastructure, businesses and residences.
Here, in the 130mph wind zone we address the issue 2 ways.
Either the land under the structure must place the finished floor at 10.0'
above sea level, which is what is done here on the mainland.
Or the home has got to be elevated on driven of jetted pilings so the the
finished floor is at least 10.0' above sea level.
My own home, built 3 years ago on the mainland, required more than 60 truck
loads of fill dirt to get the concrete slab up to the requirement, it also
required an additional 15 loads to do the finish grading at the end.
Each year the height requirement seems to increase, the new home across the
street from me is at least 1-1/2' higher than mine.
Its never ending around here.
In 20 years the only thing that will be allowed to be built around here will
be poured in place solid concrete domes anchored to the mantle itself with
precast 80' pilings 4' on center both ways. ;-(
Yes, when one attempts to do something inherently fool^h^h^h^hrisky, one
should at least make the effort to protect the investment. It's still
an area not really suitable for the use.
Those that were flooded, probably not, although what is going to be done
is pretty well still in the future...
Relocated, yes. Permanent location, job? I suspect that would probably
be <<1%, so far.
Some is, a of lot that isn't even left or worth the cost of rebuilding,
either. They're talking of trashing the Superdome, even, which was a
pretty substantial structure and investment.
130 mph is strong, but certainly far below the full-force 200+ mph plus
storm surge of a head-on coastal barrage. 130 mph is "designable" for
survival at a cost that isn't <totally> prohibitive. As you're well
aware, that cost will escalate rapidly as the design criteria rise.
Guaranteeing, after the rest are elevated that the low spots will then
As it should be if in such a location. It simply isn't a very good
choice of location for building permanent structures. I've thought what
folks who want to live in such places should do would be to simply build
disposable houses and when the big one comes leave, planning from the
beginning to simply bulldoze and start again. Be cheaper, structurally,
albeit less convenient.
The food is expensive? Look if need be I can pack a canoe or the Kayaks and
head where ever!
Don't over estimate the fear factor, in a catastrophic event, you already
beat the system if you live. Then you have to address what and where. I'm
located in a pretty good valley that protects is from all directions because
of how it follows the river. I could flood but that would have to be enough
to flood the whole valley and since it's most narrow miles north the flood
plains will handle it there. and honestly if anything does flood the food
and gear are all sealed.
I wouldn't build a house to take a Cat 5, I'd let it go and move!!!
No, not specifically. They have made some efforts particularly since
the spate of FL hurricanes to address design issues regarding roofs,
etc., for enhancing survivability. The results I've seen haven't been
uniformly successful attempts as, for one example, the guidelines for
upgrading asbestos shingle roofs apparently were developed and published
internally or w/ consulting input but not using any input from any of
the manufacturers, etc. Consequently, there are published guidelines
for which there are no commercially available materials to meet.
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