My home backs up against a 200'-wide high-voltage power line easement. After
Ike, looking across this field, I can see maybe thirty fences knocked down
by the high winds. Every one of these downed fences was erected using wooden
On my side of the field - for reasons passing understanding - every one of
the fences remained intact and every one of the fences was erected using
In the interests of full disclosure, we did have one break on our fence; the
wind, using the pickets as a sail, fractured one cross-member, but the poles
on either side of the fracture remained upright.
Maybe the construction technique using the wooden posts was flawed, I can't
say for sure. But the metal post method survived the storm and the wooden
What type of fencing material was between the metal posts? High winds
are less likely to knock down chain link, wrought iron, or aluminum
fencing than wood picket or board fencing, only because the winds can
pass through the thinner metal fencing easier than the wider wood fencing..
That would be one of my first questions, too, as well as relative ages
and more thorough investigation of the construction.
But, I'd guess a great deal of it was simply relative surface areas as
just the WAG...
Still to many potential variables to answer specifically. One would
guess as another wrote that the metal posts were set in concrete while
the wood weren't and/or were deeper. Another question would be was the
failure mode turnover of the post or did they break off? Age and amount
of rain/water would also be effect as would, potentially, the wind
direction and effective shielding perhaps of one side of the cleared
area vs the other such that despite proximity actual wind loadings
weren't the same...far too many possibilities yet to draw definitive
I agree. Wind direction, streaming neutrinos from the Solar Wind, Voodoo, or
a malevolent foreign deity may be behind the difference. Still, some thirty
of my neighbors' fences built with wooden posts are all in a pile while a
similar number using metal are still standing.
My first thought when I saw your post was that one side of the
right-of-way was upwind and the other was downwind. The upwind side
would be in the wind shadow of houses and trees. On the downwind side
the wind would be able to get a little meaner as it passed under the
power line towers.
Also a good point. However, being in Houston, the wind went one way, then,
when the eye passed, the wind with the other. It averaged out.
In the aftermath, I saw a LOT of wood things down (mostly trees), but very
few metal things (like light poles, fireplugs, or street signs) blown down.
Empirical evidence supports the theory that wood sucks.
Virtually identical material (cedar of PT pickets). As to location, it has
1. No neighbor behind me to throw garbage over the fence.
2. Conversely, I can throw garbage over the fence and no one complains.
3. My cats can prowl to their hearts content - very little hazards like
4. It's kinda cute to watch glowing bunnies, at night, hopping around,
taking care of their bunny-business (odd, though, my cats don't glow as much
as the rabbits).
Poses the question; Why do tornados demolish all of the houses on a block
and leave one untouched?
Perhaps the houses on your side of the transmission line blocked the wind
enough to save your fences, perhaps those fences blocked the wind to save
your fence but suffered as a consequence. Several times the winds have torn
up the trees on the vacant lot next to me and left my trees alone. Mother
Nature does as she likes, I guess.
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