New informationfrom the National Institutes of Standards and Technology says building
codes may be out of date when considering the effects of natural disasters on buildings. The reason is because codes generally consider the effects of these disasters as individual events, but when they are combined such as an earthquake followed by a hurricane, structures will experience both seismic and wind loads that they may not be designed to withstand.
Researchers used the example of South Carolina where both seismic and wind hazards can be expected. In those places, building design limits won’t account for both eventualities. According to wind zone and seismic hazard maps another vulnerable place is at the junction of Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee. With wind speeds capable of hitting 250 mph and with three seismic hazard zones this area is at greater risk for dual failures on buildings.
Researchers are considering a wide range of models and extending the methodology as they advocate for changes to building codes.