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re: tornado alley

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I agree with Scott, in that you cannot do much in terms of the higher level tornadoes. Head underground and pray to your god... However, there are close calls with tornadoes that produce high winds, as well as other weather phenomena like downbursts and mircrobursts, freak thunderstorms (my term), nor'easterlies, etc. that produce hurricane equivalent winds in non-hurricane regions of the country.
 
I was watching Axe Men, one of my new favorite shows, and they were covering that horrible storm that hit the Pacific NW last year. They had +90-100mph winds. They also talked about a storm in 1962 that was an "extratropical" cyclone Freda that hit Oregon and Washington and had sustained wind speeds up to 130mph!! Now I believe IBC has most or all of Oregon as 90mph. We can make all the codes we want, Nature does not play by our rule books!!
 
 
My point is I agree with the assertion straps and ABs should be standard everywhere. Such a tiny part of overall construction cost. Why people care so much about the flooring and cabinets of their house, and not about the structure is beyond me. They will gladly pay a realtor 6-7% but not 1% to the person responsible for the structural integrity of the house... Would you buy a fancy, gorgeous sports car with a crappy suspension, undersized engine, and lightweight easily crushed body just because it had leather seats and nice paint??
 
I was visiting my uncle in Oregon a couple of years ago, a Geotech/Civil Engineer. We went out to his mountain cabin where he had built a really niced 2x framed shed. I complained about no uplift straps and he started busting my Florida SE chops. So I talked him into going to Home Depot and I personally installed uplift straps myself to all of the rafters, top plate to studs, and studs to base plates.... He told me it did fine in that storm, maybe because of the straps, maybe because of the trees and mountain shielding. But for $50 and a couple of my hours I am sure I greatly increased the structural resistance of his shed...
 
Andrew Kester, P.E.
Principal/Project Manager
ADK Structural Engineering, PLLC
1510 E. Colonial Drive, Suite 301
Orlando, FL 32803
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