Building Design To Withstand Extreme Weather Conditions

Stocking up on food supplies, buying generators, and keeping boxes full of batteries are all good measurements to prepare for extreme weather. This is especially relevant for the East Coast and the Caribbean, as we still have a few more weeks of the hurricane season. We are not completely out of the woods yet. Extreme weather conditions are a critical factor that construction companies should consider when planning the building design of structures. Why? Because preparation alone does not suffice. Read on to see the importance of having a building design that takes into account the impacts of winter, earthquakes, and other extreme weather conditions.

Keeping Up with Technology

Engineers at Berkeley National Laboratory developed an optical sensor that determines a building’s stability. This system accurately measures the inter-story drift of a building post-earthquake. This advancement could significantly help government buildings, hospitals, and businesses have the information they need to safely remain open in the event of a natural disaster.

The same goes for the East Coast and the Caribbean. With hurricane season, infrastructure suffers the most. So, communities must plan for extreme weather future events. For instance, after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico received five Liberty Bridges. Although no one expected the island to suffer such destruction, U.S. Bridge had solutions to quickly respond to the emergency. These bridges provided relief, as they were emergency bridges that are also permanent. As natural disasters continue to occur, construction companies need to be prepared and make improvements in structure design.

Structural Engineering

The stability of a structure is threatened not only from motion generated from the earth, but in its essential design. In other words, this stability depends on sound structural engineering. Also, for structures to maintain stable performance with climate and moisture variables its design and materials are the key factors. There are many communities focusing on new construction that prioritizes durability, sustainability, and mold resistance. This is especially true for places like the East Coast and Caribbean islands, who are under hurricane threats annually.

Extreme Weather Preparedness

It is needless to say that construction must account for extreme weather. However, there is more that goes into this. Communities and construction organizations must have a preparedness guide in place. A lack of preparation can lead to property damage, loss, injury, and even death. Unlike buildings, bridges must continue to serve transportation needs prior to and during extreme weather conditions. Studies show that 40% of bridges in the United States are 50 or more years old. In other words, these bridges were designed and built during a time where weather was not as violent as it is today. Rather than restoring our bridges, construction companies need to enhance their structures. This means improving the way bridges handle wind, precipitation, and heat conditions. Construction companies can start by:

  • Widening drainage areas
  • Adding early warning systems
  • Installing computerized signage
  • Raising bridge profiles to allow water and debris to pass under structures
  • Strengthening bridge foundation elements to withstand water flowing at fast speeds
  • Taking advantage of modern materials designed to withstand extreme conditions

Natural Disaster Relief

Besides taking precautions for sound structural engineering, there are options to support infrastructure. President Donald Trump signed a $19 billion natural disaster relief and recovery bill for infrastructure repair and replacement. $3.3 billion will go to the Army Corps of Engineers to repair damage caused by natural disasters during the last three years, which includes investing in resiliency and flood protection projects. The bill also provides $1.6 billion for post-disaster road and bridge repairs through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Fund. This will help construction companies stay on track after extreme weather property damage.

Weather the Storm with U.S. Bridge

U.S. Bridge focuses on strengthening infrastructure and bridge repair to connect communities. Our bridges are long-lasting and safe, making transportation possible for people everywhere. Our bridge engineers meet the safety needs and design requirements to ensure durable quality prefabricated bridges. Get a quote online or visit our website for more information from our bridge experts.

Natural disasters can cause enormous damage, sometimes in excess of billions of dollars. The toll is often measured in financial and human cost. However, with good planning and quick response, the ultimate cost of a disaster can be mitigated. So, what is the best way to mitigate the effects of a natural disaster? There are steps that people and corporations can take to maximize mitigation and minimize impact. Below are some of the most effective ways to keep yourself and your property safe during a disaster.

Prepare and Plan Ahead

The best mitigation technique is preparation. Keep in mind the following practices:

  • Review the possible hazards in your area. You can obviously review the historical data for your location. Also, if your insurance company requires you to have earthquake or flood insurance, that’s a good sign that you live in an area prone to those types of disasters.
  • Learn the best way to prepare for those hazards. In the instance of an earthquake, you want to be sure that your house or apartment building is retrofitted to shore up structural issues. This is especially important if you live in an older building. For areas prone to flooding, see what the cost might be to elevate your home.

It is estimated that for every dollar spent on mitigation, three dollars are saved. For example, in 1999, the Red River in Grand Forks, North Dakota flooded and caused over $3.5 billion in damage. This caused the state government to institute mitigation techniques to avoid a similar situation in the future. As a result, when the Red River flooded again in 2006, the cost of total damages was held to under $7 million.

Disaster Management Cycle

Additional Benefits of Mitigation

Aside from cost savings, effective mitigation has long-lasting effects on the community. By preparing ahead of time, it is possible to avoid service disruptions in schools and businesses. Thus, being prepared not only helps ensure that things will quickly return to normal, it also protects against lapses in income or salaries.

For more examples of mitigation best practices, please visit this fact sheet from FEMA.

Maintaining a safe infrastructure in the wake of a natural disaster is also tantamount to keeping things running like normal. U.S. Bridge has most recently worked in Puerto Rico, installing bridges in areas where Hurricane Maria destroyed massive amounts of infrastructure. To find out more about U.S. Bridge, please contact us today.

Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico last year. With 155-MPH winds and severe flooding, the storm resulted in $100 billion in damage and took more than 4,000 lives, according to a report out of Harvard. Unfortunately, Puerto Rico and other hurricane-prone regions might not be out of the woods yet. According to forecasters, Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico are among the areas that need to take hurricane season precautions in 2018, as well.

What the Meteorologists Say

An article in the Huffington Post reveals that the 2018 hurricane season could be tumultuous. A weak La Nina in the Pacific, coupled with warm waters in the Atlantic, may result in more storms striking the continental U.S., along with Caribbean islands and Central America.

Braniff Davis, a Hurricane Harvey recovery analyst for Houston, is particularly concerned about the effect another storm would have on the area.

“There’s still a sense of Harvey PTSD here; every time we get a minor flooding event (which is just part of life in Houston, let’s be honest) people are afraid of what it means,” he said.

Puerto Rico Hurricane Season Precautions

The need for precautions is particularly crucial in Puerto Rico, which is still struggling to rebuild the infrastructure that was destroyed in 2017. Not only did the storm damage 300,000 houses, but the island suffered electric grid failures, destroyed roads, and bridges. And despite the Puerto Rican governor’s pleas for $95 billion to rebuild, many requests for FEMA aid have been denied.

“Puerto Rico is not ready for another hurricane,” said Telemundo Puerto Rico journalist Ivette Sosa. “We still have blue roofs on hundreds of houses all over the island. We have municipalities that still do not have electricity, and people in those areas are getting desperate.”

With little idea of what the future may hold, Puerto Rico is focusing on new construction that prioritizes durability, sustainability, and mold resistance. Additionally, the island has been building new emergency bridges with the aid of U.S. Bridge.

Contact Us Today

At U.S. Bridge, we specialize in building emergency bridges with prefabricated panels assembled in modules. To learn more about how we’re helping Puerto Rico or what we can do for your city, call today or contact us online.

Do you live along the coast? If so, taking hurricane season precautions is essential. In fact, the National Hurricane Center calls individuals to prepare for hurricane risks and act on those preparations if they want to stay safe. As a leader in emergency bridge construction, U.S. Bridge is passionate about helping home and business owners protect both themselves and their property in the event of a severe storm. Here are our tips for staying safe, no matter what Mother Nature has in store.

Stock Up on Supplies

One of the best hurricane season precautions you can take is creating an emergency stockpile of supplies. Along with canned foods and bottled water, it is a good idea to set aside batteries, flashlights, warm clothing, and basic first aid supplies. For best results, keep an emergency stash of any medications your family uses regularly, such as painkillers and insulin.

Prepare Your Property

Whether you live on the coast or just keep a vacation home there, it is important to take steps to protect your property from hurricane damage. Start by securing windows and doors with hurricane shutters; you don’t want broken glass flying into your living room. Additionally, you should have a professional inspect your roof. Check for rust and loose anchoring on a metal roof, and have loose roof shingles or tiles nailed down prior to storm season.

Know How to Evacuate

Most people don’t like the idea of abandoning their homes or businesses during a storm. However, if the local government recommends evacuation, it’s best to follow that advice. For best results, don’t wait until the last minute to leave town. Instead, listen for emergency alerts and make a plan for getting elderly family members, kids, and pets out while it’s safe.

Is Your Town Prepared for an Emergency?

At U.S. Bridge, we understand how devastating flooding can be and how important it is to get help fast during a storm. Our Liberty Bridge is made from prefabricated panels, so it can be assembled quickly and easily in an emergency. Ideal for both permanent and temporary purposes, the Liberty Bridge offers an effective way of getting people, animals, and vehicles to safety.  

Contact U.S. Bridge Today

At U.S. Bridge, every product we manufacture reflects our extraordinary attention to detail and a firm commitment to quality. To learn more about our emergency bridges, or what other hurricane season precautions you can take, call today or contact our team today.