Making Coastal Buildings More Resistant to Hurricanes

The natural earth is home to many storms or event that may damage property or threaten lives, from hurricanes and tornadoes to avalanches, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. While there is no way to prevent these forces of nature from occurring, modern engineering and meteorology allow developed nations to predict these events, and counter measures can be taken. Often, an area will be evacuated before a storm or an avalanche takes place, and while the buildings there can’t be moved, they can be constructed so that they survive a natural event. Buildings near California’s San Andreas fault, for example, are built on specialized foundations to survive earthquakes, and many coastal areas have levees to block flood waters.

Meanwhile, along the east coast, states such as Florida are prepared for the yearly arrival of hurricanes. These storms are among the most powerful and devastating of all, and they can cause a lot of property damage, even the smaller ones. For this reason, buildings in Florida and other hurricane-prone areas have hurricane glass windows and impact sliding glass doors to prevent extensive property damage. These hurricane glass windows and sliding doors have special glazes on them to resist strong winds and flying debris, and this can help prevent winds and rain from getting inside and causing serious damage. Many modern contractors install these windows as a matter of course. What is there to know about hurricane proof doors and high impact windows, and the storms that they are designed to endure?

Why Hurricane Glass Windows Are Needed

Meteorologists are always working hard to study hurricanes and similar storms, to better predict the timing and location of their formation and movements. There is no way to prevent a hurricane from forming, nor can buildings simply be moved out of the way. Instead, contractors design structures to survive contact with these storms, and many hurricanes on record prove what kind of devastation they may cause otherwise.

Along the American east coast, hurricane season ranges from May to November, and hurricanes may form and arrive on land anywhere in that time. In the 20th century, for historical reference, a total of 158 hurricanes struck the American coast, with Florida alone receiving 57 of them and Texas’ coast getting another 26 of them. Meanwhile, trends are showing that hurricanes in the 21st century are even more powerful and frequent, and many experts attribute this to climate change. What can be said for sure is that Hurricane Irma struck in the 21st century, in 2017 in particular, and this enormous hurricane was the most powerful Atlantic hurricane on record. In that year, Hurricane Irma had an incredible seven trillion watts of energy, and it boasted 185 MPH winds for 37 hours during its lifetime. This mammoth storm destroyed 90% of the buildings on Barbuda, and left 60% of that island’s population homeless. What is more, 2017 saw 10 different storms in a row form into hurricanes, a feat not seen since 1893.

Any hurricane, even a smaller one, brings powerful winds and heavy rain to an area, and they have even been known to spawn tornadoes and waterspouts. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew spawned a total of 62 tornadoes like this. Any hurricane may devastate an area with floods and rain, and strong winds that may throw around heavy debris. To limit the damage, hurricane glass windows are installed in buildings, as well as hurricane glass doors.


Windows in particular may be a vulnerable point for a building during a storm, but contractors can’t simply omit windows in a condo, hotel, or skyscraper on the east coast. Instead, contractors will turn to local producers and suppliers of hurricane-resistant glass doors and windows, and install them. In particular, windows with an impact-resistant glaze system rated +105/-130 can endure winds at 100 MPH or stronger without breaking, and these windows may allow debris to simply bounce right off of them. After all, broken windows during a hurricane scatter shards of glass everywhere, and the winds, rain, and debris can get into a building through those windows and devastate the interior. And if a business professional buys an older building, they may conduct inspections and have old, worn out windows replaced with new hurricane-resistant models well before the next storm arrives.

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