Approved by the Infrastructure and Research Policy Committee on January 25, 2022
Approved by the Public Policy and Practice Committee on March 4, 2022
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 22, 2022
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports full funding and implementation of the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP). The program is tasked with research, development, and transfer of new methods and technologies that will reduce losses as a result of windstorms and increase the resilience of communities.
The program should be targeted to achieve the following goals:
- Improve the understanding of windstorms and their impacts.
- Develop innovative and cost-effective materials, designs, and construction methods to provide enhanced windstorm protection.
- Develop cost-effective retrofit schemes with existing construction to improve individual and community resilience.
- Improve emergency management planning.
- Develop and enhance innovative codes and standards for wind-resistant construction.
- Implement programs for assuring increased compliance of codes and standards.
- Develop new design concepts and emergency response protocols to minimize secondary impacts such as disruption of utilities and wildfires as a result of windstorms.
- Improve regional risk assessments, especially involving the consideration of multiple hazards, lifeline interdependencies, and ripple effects.
- Collect and archive wind and relevant infrastructure data.
- Develop improved hazardous weather warnings with longer lead-time, fewer false alarms, and more accurate prediction of affected areas.
- Conduct public education on wind hazards and methods for hazard reduction.
- Train the next generation of technical experts and enhance the knowledge of design and construction professionals.
Windstorms are among the most devastating natural hazards. There is a critical need for a coordinated program to reduce the losses associated with windstorms. The loss of life, 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 windstorms.
In 2004 Congress authorized Public Law 108-360 creating the NWIRP, 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.
Each year, the United States suffers tremendous losses as a result of windstorms. 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 funded and implemented.
Current research and technology transfer activities to reduce storm impact are few in number, small, and uncoordinated. These activities will have a limited impact without a coordinated Federal effort, in cooperation with other levels of government, academia, and the private sector.
ASCE Policy Statement 530
First Approved in 2009