• One major change to local homes can make them weather ready, experts say


    During the hot summer months in the Charlotte area, intense thunderstorms can quickly fire up. Channel 9’s team of meteorologists is on top of the threats, but many homes in our area may not be ready for the powerful conditions.

    Mountain Island Lake resident George Fleszar is still hauling off branches from his home after storms packing 70 mile per hour winds ripped through his neighborhood. He told Channel 9 he has to get a new roof because of the storm.

    “The ridge vents are damaged, there’s several feet of shingles torn off the bottom. That’s just what we can see,” Fleszar said.

    Fleszar said his home was built tough and matched every specification of the state building code and it still wasn’t a match for Mother Nature’s wrath.

    Rock Hill engineer Anne Cope said it’s a problem she’s running into more often in her research.

    Cope took Channel 9 through the lab at the insurance institute of Business and Home Safety, where she tests the strength of today’s homes.

    A massive wall of more than 100 large fans hurls category three hurricane force winds at full-scale model homes.

    During her research, Cope hooks hundreds of pressure sensors inside the homes to see how each part handles the wind and she’s finding out that having a home built to code is not enough.

    Channel 9 saw a home meeting all state requirements have the roof lifted right off.

    Cope said today’s homeowner has to go above and beyond building standards. For example, the building code assumes that during a storm, the windows are going to be closed, but that might not be realistic.

    Many people don’t have hurricane shutters so as soon as the window breaks, the air comes in and starts pushing against the roof.

    “The roof is your number one, the first line of defense,” Cope said.

    Homes should be fortified not just certified, Cope said.

    She said extra clips should be added to fasten the roof to the lower ends of the house. The connection should be reinforced all the way from the roof, down the side and straight to the foundation with straps and anchor bolts.

    [LINK: Fortified homes information]

    Homeowners can get hurricane connector plates and also ring shanked nails that are harder to pull out of the wood when strong winds hit.

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