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Stormstruck: A Tale of Two Homes™ Opens At Epcot®

Stormstruck: A Tale of Two Homes™ Opens At Epcot®

Opening to rave reviews,The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc. and sponsors celebrated the interactive and educational weather experience entitled StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

Stormstruck Opens In Epcot CenterThe grand opening was attended by leaders such as National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read, FEMA Director David Paulison and the retired NHC Director, FLASH leadership partner Max Mayfield and DIY Expert Danny Lipford.

StormStruck™ enables guests from around the world to experience the power of a weather event while learning how to best prepare for floods, hail, high winds, lightning and more.

The exhibit features a spectacular, simulated, 4-D weather experience that combines a variety of weather hazards into one “storm”.

After guests have experienced the storm, they will learn about cutting edge scientific research and new construction technologies that can protect their home.

“This is a one-of-a-kind combination of interactivity and education for weather of all kinds that will help protect families and homes in the future,” said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, FLASH CEO and President.

“We are humbled by this opportunity to bring our vision and mission to life and grateful for the generous commitment of our sponsors.”

Neill Currie, RenaissanceRe President and CEO, said: “StormStruck™ represents an extraordinary opportunity to educate homeowners about protecting themselves from major storms.

RenaissanceRe’s business centers on understanding weather perils to provide the best risk coverage for our clients, many of whom provide insurance to
U.S. homeowners.

Through this exciting initiative, we believe we can help make communities more resilient as well as reduce premium costs over time."

“With the large number of windstorms that we’ve seen this year, there’s no better time than now to make sure homes are built right,” said Terry Kingsfather , president of Simpson Strong-Tie.

“For most people their homes are the largest investment they will ever make, so it’s important they protect them.This exhibit will help homeowners understand how high winds affect their homes and how to make sure their homes are storm ready by installing such products as wind-resistant windows and garage doors, and using metal connectors to secure their roofs, walls and foundations.”

“The StormStruck attraction provides an interactive and educational way for individuals to learn how to better protect their families and properties from weather events,” said Rod Matthews, underwriting vice president for State Farm.

“The experience at Innoventions and the information provided on the Web site is a valuable resource that will enable families to better prepare for the unexpected. State Farm is extremely excited and proud to be associated with this innovative effort.”

Click here to view visitor's reactions to StormStruck

How Hurricane Resistant Is Your Home?

By: David Jokinen, CEO

Hurricane WindsThe arrival of tropical storm “Dolly” is a Hurricane Season “wake-up” call for Texas. August and September are the two most active and dangerous months along our Gulf Coast.

It makes no difference if they are called cyclones, typhoons, or hurricanes. They all carry two very destructive forces within them.

The first is “Wind-Speed” (which we’ll cover in this report). 

Becoming savvy about Hurricane Wind-Speeds might save your life. It will definitely help save your property from destruction. Every person who now resides in a coastal state bordering the Gulf of Mexico already lives in an assigned Wind-Speed Zone.

The same applies for those millions of residents who live in 15 Eastern states that have shorelines on the Atlantic Ocean.

Most Texans have no clue what their Number is. There are only five Hurricane Wind Zones or Categories on the National “Saffir-Simpson” Scale, which was jointly developed by Simpson (a Scientist) and Saffir (an Engineer) in the 1970’s. 

It’s easy to find your Wind “Zone” Number. Just look at the list of all Texas Counties later in this article.  

Saffir-SimpsonScale of Hurricane Winds
click here for more details on the scale

Between 1970 and 1990, many states began adopting minimum state-wide construction standards.

Unfortunately, Texas still does not have (in 2008) a State Wide Home Building Code that is uniformly enforced. In 1992, Hurricane “Andrew” with Wind-Speeds of 140 miles per hour totally destroyed 26,000 homes in Miami and Dade County, in less than 24 hours. It was a Category “4” Storm.

Hurricane DamageWhile searching in this debris field, FEMA Engineers surprisingly found a dozen scattered homes that were not destroyed. FEMA later learned that all 12 of these homes had been built in different off-site “Systems-Built” factories; and assembled over a two year period in different suburban Miami subdivisions.

Those surviving dwellings had one thing in common: they all had been built to a much higher “Wind-Speed!” than was required by South Florida’s building codes, at that time.

Today, the Texas based building company “INOVA Homes” uses this same high quality/high-tech “Systems Built” process.

In 2006, they put the first home on Galveston Island to be certified by Texas engineers, to safely withstand Category “4” Hurricane Winds of 140 miles per hour.

A lot of retired Canadians living in Florida were killed by that 1992 Hurricane Andrew.

This prompted a joint American/Canadian Building Code Committee. Those engineers later changed the name to IBC, or “International Building Code”.

This group simplified how hurricane states can better use the existing Saffir-Simpson Wind-Speed Scales. The IBC targets one (middle range) number within each of their 5 Wind-Speed Categories. 

Suggested Texas Wind Speed Code 2006 International Building Code (IBC)
Category 1 90 MPH Minimum
Category 2 100 MPH
Category 3 120 MPH
Category 4 140 MPH
Category 5 160 MPH

Later, in this report, it's suggested which Texas Counties (or parts of counties) would fit into each of these IBC Wind-Speed Zones. See the list of 68 counties at the end of this article. You'll see three tiers of Coastal (plus near Coastal Counties); and how they should be divided between Categories #2, #3, and #4. The remaining 186 Interior, Western and Northern Counties all fit safely into the Category #1 (90 MPH) Zone. Fortunately, no Texas Counties fit into that very dangerous Category # 5 (160 MPH) Wind-Speed Zone. However, many people feel these 160 MPH winds regularly congregate only a few miles off our Texas Shore during these 6 months of hurricane season.

Most Lone Star Residents today, may not realize how often Texas gets dangerous hurricanes coming off the Gulf. Our State has actually experienced more direct hits than any other state, except Florida.

Texas has suffered from 62 direct hurricane hits; plus an additional 90 tropical storms. In 2001, Houston was hit by “Tropical Storm Allison”, which caused far more flood damage, and people drowning than most of those hurricanes which have struck Texas since 1851.

In 1950, the US National Weather Bureau began naming hurricanes in the Atlantic and Gulf.

By 1970 *, the Weather Bureau also began keeping records of each hurricane’s Wind-Speeds “over water”, when they were “different” from that same storm’s wind-speed at “land fall”.  

‘54  Alice                     (1) 80 Minimal    
'57 Audrey                 (1) 145 Extreme     
'58 Ella                      (4) 115 Extensive    
'59 Debra                  (3) 85 Minimal    
'61 Carla                   (1) 175 Catastrophic    
'63 Cindy                   (1) 80 Minimal    
'67 Beulau                (5) 160 Catastrophic    
*'70 Celia                   (1) 125 Extensive (CAT 5) 175* Catastrophic
‘71 Fern                    (1) 90 Minimal    
'80 Allen                    (4) 145 Extreme (CAT 5) 190 Catastrophic
'83 Alicia                   (3) 115 Extensive    
'86 Bonnie                (1) 85 Minimal    
'88 Gilbert                 (4) 135 Extreme (CAT 5) 185 Catastrophic
'89 Chantal               (1) 80 Minimal    
'89 Jerry                     (1) 85 Minimal    
'01 “Alison” Tropical Storm     Houston's Worst Flooding
'03 Claudette            (1) 80 Minimal    
'05 Rita                      (3) 120 Extensive (CAT 5) 175 Catastrophic

INOVA’s slogan is: “Build your Coastal Home Right the First Time”. It’s foolish to have to rebuild again after the next hurricane.  

The ability to build stronger, safer, good looking Hurricane Resistant New Homes, at no extra cost is a relatively new phenomenon. There are only a few builders besides “INOVA Homes”, who can routinely do this in Texas.  

Most of them also use our same 2 Step-Process: it is 4 weeks of construction in a climate controlled off-site facility. Then, a one day assembly on the homeowner’s lot, followed by a few weeks of additional site work. 

If you, or someone you know, is planning on building a beach house on the coast consult with INOVA.  

Building a retirement, or other new house, any where in the 16 “high risk” counties (of Category “4”), or those 24 counties in Wind “Zone 3” means you should talk to a “Systems Builder” (like INOVA) first. There is really no other good alternative. It’s hard to make the current stick-built homes truly strong enough.

Suggested List of every Texas County grouped by “IBC” Hurricane Wind-Speed Zones

  • Category 1 (Average Wind-Speed 90 MPH) This Zone has all interior 188 Counties. Most of Texas only gets “Minimal” damage.
  • Category 2 (Wind-Speed 100 MPH) 3rd Row, from Coast 28 Counties: (1) Sabine; (2) San Augustine; (3) Nacogdoches; (4) Angelina; (5) Trinity; (6) Polk; (7) San Jacinto; (8) Walker; (9) Grimes; (10) Brazos; (11) Burleson (12) Washington; (13) Fayette; (14) Lee; (15) Bastrop; (16) Caldwell; (17) Gonzales; (18) Guadalupe; (19) Bexar; (20) Wilson; (21) Karnes; (22) Atascosa; (23) Medina; (24) Frio; (25) La Salle; (26) McMullen; (27) Webb; (28) Zapata.
  • Category 3 (Wind-Speed 120 MPH) 2nd Row from Coast, 24 Counties: (1) Orange; (2) Hardin; (3) Newton; (4) Jasper; (5) Tyler; (6) Liberty; (7) Montgomery; (8) FORT BEND; (9) Wharton; (10) Waller; (11) Austin; (12) Colorado; (13) Lavaca; (14) Victoria; (15) De Witt; (16) Goliad; (17) Bee; (18) Live Oak; (19) Jim Wells; (20) Duval; (21) Brooks; (22) Jim Hogg; (23) Hidalgo; (24) Starr.
  • Category 4 (Wind-Speed 140 MPH) 1st Row, 16 “Coastal” Counties. (1) Jefferson; (2) Chambers; (3) Harris; (4) Galveston; (5) Brazoria; (6) Matagorda; (7) Jackson; (8) Calhoun; (9) Refugio; (10) Aransas; (11) San Patricio; (12) Nueces; (13) Kleberg; (14) Kenedy; (15) Willacy; (16) Cameron.
  • Category 5 (Wind-Speed 160 MPH) Fortunately No Zone in Texas. A few unlucky Gulf Coast states do have some Cat. 5 Zones on land. For example: Florida and Louisiana
Click here to read more about hurricane resistant homes.

Wondering what new developments allow these homes to be built? Look no further!

Island Park Estates 
Port Aransas

The Sanctuary at Costa Grande 
Port O'Connor

You can build your own hurricane resistant home in one of these new communities. Contact us to find out how!

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