19 States That Should Be Specifying Hurricane-Tested Roof Hatches

Hurricanes Are a Key Consideration for Building Resilience

June marked the beginning of hurricane season, it's vital to recognize the significant impact these powerful storms can have on structures. With an average of 12-17 tropical storms and 5-9 hurricanes predicted during this season, it's not just Florida that remains vulnerable; 18 other states are also routinely affected. The question is, does your state fall within this danger zone? The vulnerability of your building's roof to hurricane damage is a crucial consideration that demands attention. 

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This infographic is a list of costliest U.S. Atlantic hurricanes. The two most expensive tropical cyclone on record intop 10 hurricanes the Atlantic is held by hurricanes Katrina and Harvey respectively, both of which resulted in billions of dollars in property damage during the years they occurred. A majority of the costliest Atlantic hurricanes in recorded history have peaked as major hurricanes. However, weaker tropical storms can still cause widespread damage. Tropical storms Alberto in 1994, Allison in 2001, Lee in 2011 and Imelda in 2019 caused more than a billion dollars in damage. Wind damage encompasses a large portion of storm damage as well, evidenced by Andrew, Irma and Michael. The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active Atlantic hurricane season on record. Hurricane Ida became the deadliest and most destructive of the season after striking southeastern Louisiana. After devastating Louisiana and moving farther inland, Ida caused catastrophic flooding and spawned several destructive tornadoes across the Northeastern United States. Damage estimates from the storm exceeded $75 billion. Hurricane Ian in 2022 became both the costliest Florida hurricane and the third costliest on record. 

The Hurricane That Ignited Change: Hurricane Andrew

The aftermath of the Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was a turning point that spurred much-needed reevaluation and action. Witnessing the catastrophic, far-reaching destruction caused by this hurricane, Floridians recognized the urgency of understanding why their buildings had failed. In response, the Florida Building Codes Study Commission was established in 1996. During its 16-month study, the commission unveiled a convoluted and bewildering maze of codes and regulations, often differing across more than 400 local jurisdictions and state agencies responsible for building code enforcement. Surprisingly, Hurricane Andrew's impact wasn't attributed to inherent weaknesses in the codes themselves; rather, it was the intricate web of conflicting codes and administrative processes that proved challenging to enforce and comply with. A clear need arose for a comprehensive, unified statewide building code system in Florida.

Andrew Infographic

Impact on Building Products 

The evolution of building codes led to a fundamental transformation in the certification process for manufacturersRH Certs selling products into Florida. This shift necessitated obtaining approval through the Florida Product Approval process or the Miami-Dade County Notice of Acceptance. Certification demands rigorous testing, especially in High Velocity Hurricane Zones, as products must withstand the forces of nature's fury. The testing protocols include:

TAS 201-94 - Impact Test

During this test several 8-foot-long 2 by 4's are shot from an air cannon to simulate large missile impact on strategic points on the product.

TAS 202-94 - (Static) Air Pressure & Water Penetration Test

This test is designed to test structural overload with both positive and negative pressure. The testing of the design is performed at +/- 50%, +/- 100% and finally +/- 150% of static air. Additionally, a stream of water is blasted at the product at 15% of the testing load. To pass, the product must withstand these static forces, with no failure, for 30 seconds.

TAS 203-94 - Cyclic Wind Pressure Loading Test

This is a pulsating series assessment designed to test wind pressure loading. During this test there are 671 - 1 to 3 second cycles at 50%, + 50% and 120% of the testing load.

Experts recommend specifying hurricane-tested roof hatches that are both Florida Product Approved and Miami-Dade Notice of Acceptance (NOA) products - not only in Florida, but in all hurricane-affected regions throughout the US. 

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The Importance of Hurricane-Tested Roof Hatches

Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) shows that there have been more than 300 hurricanes that have directly hit the U.S. coastline since 1851, of which more than 80% of those hit just three states—Florida, Texas, and Louisiana. Incorporating the lessons learned and the stringent codes that followed, experts underscore the significance of specifying hurricane-tested roof hatches. These hatches, approved both by Florida Product Approval and Miami-Dade Notice of Acceptance, play a pivotal role in fortifying buildings against hurricane-related damage. This holds true not only for Florida but also for all hurricane-prone regions across the United States.

Hurricane season serves as a stark reminder of the critical importance of safeguarding structures against the forces of nature. From the lessons of history's costliest hurricanes to the transformation of building codes, the journey toward building resilience continues. By incorporating hurricane-tested solutions, like roof hatches, we collectively contribute to the creation of structures that can stand tall even in the face of nature's fiercest challenges.

The Nystrom commitment to safety, innovation, and quality shines brightly through our range of hurricane-certified roof hatches. As we navigate the ever-changing landscape of building requirements and environmental challenges, we remain dedicated to providing top-tier solutions. With each hurricane-certified roof hatch, we offer more than just a product – we provide durability, resilience and peace of mind to withstand the harshest conditions and protect the spaces beneath them.

Nystrom provides hassle-free service with the utmost dedication and delivering solutions that elevate your projects to new heights of safety and security. For more information on our ordering from the Personnel Roof Hatch product line or questions on specification, please visit our website.

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