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Policy Statement 530 - Windstorm Impact Mitigation

 

Approved by the Infrastructure and Research Policy Committee on March 17, 2016
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 13, 2016
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 9, 2016

Policy

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports full funding and implementation of the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program. The program is tasked with research, development and transfer of new technology that will reduce losses experienced each year as a result of wind storms.

The program should be targeted to achieve the following goals:

  • Reduce losses from windstorms, thereby increasing the resiliency of communities
  • Develop affordable designs to provide enhanced windstorm protection. 
  • Improve emergency management planning
  • Develop cost-effective retrofit schemes with existing construction to improve individual and community resilience
  • Develop improved hazardous weather warnings with longer lead-time, fewer false alarms, and more accurate prediction of affected areas;
  • Implement innovative codes and standards that provide for wind-resistant construction and programs for assuring increased compliance
  • Develop new materials and innovative design concepts and emergency response approaches to minimize electrical power loss as a result of windstorms;
  • Conduct public education on wind hazards and methods for hazard reduction. 
  • Collect and archive wind and national infrastructure data
  • Train the next generation of technical experts and enhance the knowledge of design and construction professionals; an
  • Improve regional risk assessments, especially involving multiple hazards, lifeline interdependencies, and ripple effects.

Issue 

Wind storms are among the most devastating natural hazards. The damage, destruction and business interruption caused by hurricanes and tornadoes cost several billion dollars each year. All states and regions of the United States are vulnerable to wind storms.

Congress, in 2004 authorized Public Law 108-360 creating a National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program, and the program was reauthorized in 2016. The program coordinates windstorm related research activities at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology and Federal Emergency Management Agency. There is a critical need for a national coordinated program that will provide tangible results in reducing the losses associated with windstorms.

Rationale

Each year the United States suffers tremendous losses as a result of wind storms. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and other windstorms cause death and injury, business interruption, and property damage in all 50 states and all U.S. territories. As urban growth continues and people move to coastal areas, the trend towards larger impacts and increasing costs will continue unless an effective wind hazard reduction plan is implemented and funded.

Current research and technology transfer activities to reduce storm impact are few in number, small, and uncoordinated. These activities will have a limited impact unless action is taken to improve the resiliency of the physical infrastructure. 

ASCE Policy Statement 530
First Approved in 2009

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