Severe winds of many types are responsible for losses which can exceed $30 billion dollars of direct and indirect losses each year in the United States and the loss of many lives. Losses are not only due to direct physical damage but also occur due to water related to wind storms. Just two hurricanes, Andrew and Iniki, caused more than $26 billion dollars in direct damage losses in one year. Added to these costs would be the economic disruption and suffering of the affected populations resulting in total costs exceeding $35 billion dollars for these two events. Unfortunately the long-term recovery and economic impacts are not uniform and those who can least afford to be impacted are also those who are at the lower end of the recovery cycle. Average yearly economic and life losses in the United States due to wind far exceeds that from Earthquakes.

Only floods have the demonstrated potential to cause greater average yearly losses than wind damage.

Although hurricanes and tornadoes are the most dramatic of severe wind events, there are many other causes of severe winds which, in total, can cause damage ranging from the loss of siding and roofing, glass breakage, crop and vegetation damage through complete loss or disabling of structures and lifeline facilities. Water penetration after wind damage is also responsible for a substantial amount of losses.

A particular problem, which has not been extensively addressed, is the extensive stock of existing construction which was constructed before it was fully understood what the magnitude of wind and water loadings may be and ways to provide resistance against these loadings at an economically acceptable level. This problem is receiving increased attention from Wind Engineers.

It must also be realized that engineering for natural hazards is not unique to each particular hazard. For example the characterization of time series information is equally applicable whether the subject is a strong-motion seismograph record or a time-history wind record. Thus the approach to natural hazard engineering can be optimized by utilizing a multi-hazard approach rather than treating each hazard as a separate problem. The wind engineering community would like to promote the greatest amount of cooperation between workers who specialize in a particular type of hazard.

We hope that this website will provide useful information concerning the engineering aspects of wind and wind-related water problems and some pointers to contacts and valuable sources of information.