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Extreme Weather In Florida is Increasing—This Can Make Our Buildings Safer

Extreme Weather In Florida Is Increasing—This Can Make Our Buildings Safer

Instances of extreme weather are increasing over time. A 2018 paper by the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council noted a significant increase in these events over the past 36 years—the frequency of storms, for example, has doubled since 1980, while floods have quadrupled. There are few places in the U.S. where this matter is more pressing than in Florida. According to the Florida department of transportation, the state sees “the greatest number of thunderstorms in the United States, occurring 75-105 days each year.” These storms, when severe, can “produce winds in excess of 58 miles per hour.” Even more alarming is the fact that, for the first time in over a century, there were 10 storms in a row which turned into hurricanes in 2017.

Strong winds are a particularly destructive threat to people and to property. As Michael Kelly points out in his article, “How to Keep Your Home Safe in Strong Winds,” it’s “not just 100-mph winds or hurricane-like conditions that can cause damage—even gusts that are much less severe can knock out power or cause damage.” Because they are not relegated to a specific area but rather affect massive swaths of land at once, high winds threaten virtually all properties in storm-prone regions. The key to safer buildings in these areas lies in strengthening their most vulnerable parts: windows and doors. Impact resistant windows and hurricane glass doors can give property owners invaluable peace of mind.

Companies such as Engineering Glass Systems are able to offer impact resistant windows that go above and beyond the protection one might expect from a specially tempered glass product. Their U.S.-based manufacturer produces high impact glass that is resistant to category 5 hurricanes, the most dangerous and destructive storms. While truly hurricane proof doors and hurricane resistanct windows are more expensive than their less durable counterparts, this added protection may be viewed as an investment, as it reduces the number of repairs which will be necessary down the line. Importantly, Kelly notes that impact resistant windows do not merely serve to avoid water damage—rather, “the real advantage is structural.” Hurricane resistant windows actually help to combat the collapse of roofs and walls by remaining in place even during intense changes in pressure. Given the present rise of extreme weather events, this is a protective measure that certainly seems worthwhile.