All buildings are at risk of experiencing damage during high winds. Each structure, with its own unique set of characteristics, such as stiffness, strength, and shape, reacts differently to wind loads. Wood has inherent characteristics that make it ideal in areas prone to high wind and can be designed to resist high winds.
Wind load requirements are covered under the national code standards but may vary from jurisdiction depending on wind zones
Wood's elastic limit and ultimate strength are higher when loads are applied for a short time, which tends to be the case in high wind events. As with seismic performance, the fact that wood buildings tend to have numerous nail connections also means they have more load paths, so there's less chance the structure will collapse should some connections fail.
When structural panels such as plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) are properly attached to lumber framing, they also form some of the most solid and stable roof, floor and wall systems available. When used to form diaphragms and shear walls, they are exceptional at resisting high winds.
Photo: FEMA 488, Mitigation Assessment Team Report, Hurricane Charley in Florida
After Hurricane Charley, FEMA noted new wood-frame buildings built to the 2001 Florida Building Code standards generally performed well structurally.
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