NIST logo
Bookmark and Share

National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program


NIST is designated by Congress as one of four agencies comprising the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program[1] or NWIRP (other agencies are FEMA, NOAA, and NSF), with OSTP as the lead agency. Pending legislation in the U.S. House (H.R.1786) would move the lead agency function to NIST. This project provides leadership of windstorm and coastal inundation impact reduction R&D activities within the Engineering Laboratory. It also supports interagency coordination and reporting activities, as well as planning activities associated with potentially being designated the NWIRP lead agency.


[1] Created by the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act of 2004, PL 108-360.



Objective: Lead NIST’s National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program research and development (R&D) to improve model codes, standards, design guidance, and practices for the construction and retrofit of buildings, structures, and lifelines.

What is the new technical idea? Improve safety and resilience of buildings, structures and lifelines by:

  1. supporting the development of instrumentation, data processing, archival capabilities, and standards for the instrumentation and its deployment, to measure wind, wind loading, and other properties of severe wind and structural response;
  2. coordinating with other appropriate Federal agencies to make the collected data available to researchers, standards and code developers, and local authorities;
  3. supporting the development of tools and methods for the collection of data on the loss of and damage to structures, and data on surviving structures after severe windstorm events;
  4. improving knowledge of the impact of severe wind on buildings, structures, lifelines, and communities;
  5. developing cost-effective windstorm impact reduction tools, methods, and technologies;
  6. working, in conjunction with other appropriate Federal agencies, to support the development of wind standards and model codes;
  7. working closely with key stakeholders to promote better building practices, in conjunction with other appropriate Federal agencies; and
  8. coordinating with the NIST Director of Disaster and Failure Studies Program within the Engineering Laboratory and with the other NWIRP agencies and stakeholders to respond to disaster and failure events following windstorms, including:
    1. staffing of study teams;
    2. field data collection studies;
    3. creating and maintaining a database repository related to windstorms;
    4. the performance of the built environment during windstorm events;
    5. associated emergency response and evacuation procedures;
    6. pre-disaster mitigation studies specific to windstorms; and
    7. developing, in consultation with the EL Director of Disaster and Failure Studies, the protocols for coordination of NWIRP and other federal agencies’ and stakeholders' participation in disaster and failure event studies following windstorms.

What is the research plan? 

  1. NWIRP Statutory Responsibilities and Leadership of NIST NWIRP R&D:
    1. complete required NWIRP biennial reports to Congress, in collaboration with the other NWIRP agencies (OSTP, FEMA, NSF, NOAA);
    2. represent NIST on the Windstorm Working Group of the Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction (within the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability of the National Science and Technology Council);
    3. align NIST research and development efforts with priorities identified in the Measurement Science R&D Roadmap for Windstorm and Coastal Inundation Impact Reduction (NIST 2014); and
    4. coordinate NIST R&D efforts with other federal agencies and the broader R&D community and profession, through development of working groups and technical committees addressing areas such as design for tornadoes, computational wind engineering, performance-based design for wind hazards.
  2. Technical Activities:
    1. Performance-based design (PBD) for wind hazards: Using review and analysis of PBD literature and input from industry's leading practitioners and academics, develop a framework for PBD for wind loads identifying performance levels, evaluation tools, and acceptance criteria.
    2. Validation of test and measurement systems in the new boundary layer wind tunnel test section: Use comparison of experimental results on a building model with other wind tunnel laboratories to validate wind tunnel measurement systems performance.
    3. Lead development of the Joplin and Moore tornado data repositories, in coordination with EL Disaster and Failure Studies.

Major Accomplishments:

Research Outcomes:

  • Kuligowski, Erica D.; Lombardo, Franklin T.; Phan, Long T.; Levitan, Marc L.; Jorgensen, David P., (2013). "Technical Investigation of the May 22, 2011, Tornado in Joplin, Missouri: Draft Final Report." NIST NCSTAR 3 (Draft for Public Comment)
  • A new ASCE Ad-hoc Committee on Performance-Based Design for Wind Hazards has been created to develop pre-standard performance-based provisions for the ASCE 7 Wind Load Subcommittee for ASCE 7-22

Realized Research Impacts:

  • Kuligowski, Erica D.; Phan, Long T.; Levitan, Marc L.; Jorgensen, David P., (2013). "Preliminary Reconnaissance of the May 20, 2013, Newcastle-Moore Tornado in Oklahoma." NIST Special Publication 1164.
  • Measurement Science R&D Roadmap for Windstorm and Coastal Inundation Impact Reduction, NISTGCR - 14-973-13.
  • Kuligowski, Erica D.; Lombardo, Franklin T.; Phan, Long T.; Levitan, Marc L.; Jorgensen, David P., (2014). "Technical Investigation of the May 22, 2011, Tornado in Joplin, Missouri: Final Report." NIST NCSTAR 3.
  • Dunn, C.L., Friedland, C.J., and Levitan, M.L., (2013). "Statistical representation of design parameters for hurricane risk reduction of structures", Structural Safety, vol. 45, Nov. 2013, pp 36–47.
  • NATIONAL WINDSTORM IMPACT REDUCTION PROGRAM Biennial Report to Congress for Fiscal Years 2011 and 2012, submitted by OSTP to Congress.

Start Date:

November 3, 2011

Lead Organizational Unit:



Project Leader: Dr. Marc Levitan


General Information:
Dr. Marc Levitan, Project Leader
301-975-5340 Telephone

100 Bureau Drive, M/S 8611
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8611