In hurricane-prone environments, infrastructure preparedness is essential. This encompasses constructing buildings with materials resilient to high winds and impacts, alongside designs that mitigate flood risks through elevated structures and robust drainage systems. Utility networks, particularly for power and communication, require reinforcement and often underground installation to ensure reliability during storms. Transportation infrastructure, including roads and bridges, must be engineered for endurance against extreme weather, ensuring clear and functional evacuation routes. Crucial too is the fortification of emergency response facilities like hospitals and shelters, equipped with independent power and water supplies.
In the past decade, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have repeatedly faced threats from major hurricanes. Most notably, the category-5 hurricanes Maria and Irma hit the islands within 10 days of each other in September of 2017.
Some municipalities actually legally require the addition of ‘wind vents’ for large signage. In fact, a group of researchers set out to test the efficacy of such wind vents – and challenge the thinking behind those laws.
Their key takeaways:
- The wind-loads varied depending on if it was a solid or ‘billowing’ type sign. (The original thinking, and subsequent legislation, seems to have mostly stemmed from science related to non-solid structures.)
- A “swiss-cheese” type design might actually significantly reduce wind loads.
So, is this an example of innovative sign modifications?
…they’re actually bullet holes.
Definitely bullet holes.
But, it really does beg the question: what type of resiliency should be built into physical information systems within any area?