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Re: wind load on fences/walls

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On Dec 19, 2008, at 12:42 PM, Andrew Kester, PE wrote:

It is funny what brings on the most responses on this list, normally beer and politics are the hot buttons..... With fences, a definite "where are the bodies?" comes to mind. However, at the begining of my career there was locally an incorrectly designed CMU screen wall that killed a landscaper who was digging a hole for irrigation near or under the footing. It was found to have a very small and inadequate footing, that if correctly designed and built may have prevented the overturning. But during your average wind event you are not taking cover adjacent to your nearest fence or CMU wall.

This is really way out of my real line of work, but since no one's mentioned it yet, failure of such things as board fences in a high wind creates some pretty dangerous flyiing objects. I know from personal experience that even a Alberta clipper can carry a sheet metal shed quite some distance. If the distance includes a plate glass window, it can tun someone's living room into a very unpleasant place to be, even if no one's hurt outright. We get straight line winds of 60 miles an hour every summer during severe weather, and those winds pick up whatever they choose and put them down anywhere. These aren't tornadoes--just high winds that accompany heavy thunderstorms.

I also know a little about the times when hurricanes pick up debris and hurl it around. I don't remember anything specific about board fences, but it's not too hard to imagine them sailing around with all the rest of the loose trash someone forgot to dispose of properly.

Christopher Wright P.E. |"They couldn't hit an elephant at
chrisw(--nospam--at)   | this distance" (last words of Gen.
.......................................| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)

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