David Payne, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Could Oklahoma's wind tear down our homes? Scientists say yes because of how many houses in the Sooner State are currently built. But researchers across the country are trying to change that with a series of videos showing the destruction violent winds can cause.
"Those go a long way to showing people, helping manufacturers show people that the products they're testing are valid," said Tim Smail with the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes. "The next step now is taking those results, figuring out how to get them into a code, into a standard."
The Wind Wall in South Carolina tests the effects of straight-line winds up to 130 mph on homes. In Lubbock, Texas, the world's largest tornado simulator at VORTECH, is designed to better understand the violent winds of a twister and how that may affect structures. There are ways to reinforce structures so they can better handle the vast majority of tornadoes.
Oklahoma's code for residential construction protects against 90 mph winds. But, that doesn't apply to mobile homes, which can be deadly in severe weather. Many researchers also believe 90 miles an hour may not be enough.
"You want to make a strong roof is tied to strong walls, has strong windows and doors, tied to a strong foundation because any one of those systems that would fail will usually cause complete failure of the entire home," Smail said.
There are other simple building techniques that go a long way toward making your house stronger. Hurricane clips can further secure the roof to your home.
Jeff Starkweather with Epic Custom Homes said, "You can consider hurricane-type resistant garage doors, windows that have a better wind factor to resist the wind."
The cost to strengthen your home to a 130 mile per hour standard can be as little as $5000. An investment a growing number of Oklahomans says is worth it to protect themselves.
Alabama and Florida are among states with the higher building standard of 130 mile per hour, mostly because of hurricanes.