Carol Forsloff – The biggest alarms during severe weather conditions have been to residents of trailers and manufactured homes, which haven’t fared well in disasters, but now some folks say things have changed.
Hurricanes are predicted in a fairly significant quantity for the coastal areas this year, as people hunker down and worry about the impact of the weather on the biggest environmental disaster in the history of the United States: the oil spill.
Weather experts have already given some of the hurricanes names already. This year hurricanes named Alex, Bonnie and Colin could bring injury and damage to homeowners along the eastern seaboard and in Gulf states. Researchers at Colorado State University predict that the 2010 season will bring 18 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and five major hurricanes. They put the chance of a major hurricane will batter the U.S. coast at 76 percent. That can be compared to an average chance of just 52 percent for the past century.
Such severe weather events are frequently accompanied by media reports showing overturned “mobile homes,” giving a false impression that manufactured homes aren’t able to withstand high winds.
“The homes we frequently see overturned in media reports were typically those built before the modern federal HUD codes went into effect that regulate today’s manufactured homes.” says industry veteran Tony Kovach, who is also the publisher of Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management industry trade magazine.
Kovach tells us what has changed in terms of design and protect, “We have to make a distinction between a mobile homes, built before June 15, 1976 and modern manufactured homes built since that date. Modern manufactured homes meet or often exceed site-built home standards and perform even better in severe weather events.”
There is some research provided by this marketing organization that is said to support Kovach’s statement.
According to Hurricane Survivability for Manufactured Housing: A Case Study in Disaster Mitigation for Low-Income Housing by K.R. Grosskopf, Ph.D. of 152 manufactured home communities and 29,274 manufactured homes surveyed after the 2004 Florida hurricanes, none of the 4,056 manufactured housing units constructed after the 1994 U.S. Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standard were destroyed or seriously damaged.
“Part of this is because the HUD code requires modern manufactured homes to be built to wind zones,” Kovach adds. “Manufactured housing in coastal Florida are in wind zone III, for example, which means they must be built to withstand winds of at least 110 mph.”
That means keep your eyes on the Gulf and the weather if you live there, no matter what you live in, disaster experts advise.