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Hurricane Ian

Credit: Image by Pixabay User 12019

On September 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian made landfall along the southwest Florida coast, bringing storm surge and high winds inland and causing extensive damage to ​buildings, ​utilities, transportation​ and other infrastructure​. To better understand how the buildings failed, and how such failures can be prevented in the future, in 2023 NIST launched a multi-year effort to study how ​Hurricane Ian’s ​storm surge, wind, and wind-driven rain affected ​​​the coastal ​built environment, as well as how emergency ​preparedness and ​communications affected evacuation decision making. 

The goal of this effort is to develop recommendations to improve building codes, standards and practices to make communities across the U.S. more resilient to hurricanes and other disasters. NIST has a long history of studying windstorm impacts to learn from them and improve our building​ design​ ​and emergency communication​ procedures. For example, NIST’s work studying the effects of the 2011 Joplin tornado disaster led to changes in building standards and codes for storm shelters​ requirements​ and​ for determination of​ tornado loads for ​design of ​high-occupancy and critical buildings​ in the U.S​. 

For the research study on Hurricane Ian, NIST seeks to understand the​ effects of its​ storm surge​ and wind hazards, including wind-driven rain, on the built ​environment​ in the affected region, the efficacy of current building codes and standards regarding hurricane hazards,​ and the​ effectiveness of​ emergency ​preparedness, ​communications and evacuation response. NIST is coordinating its study with other federal agencies, private sector organizations, and academic institutions, and will soon be engaging additional support through contracts and grants.  

NIST is not a regulatory agency, and therefore does not issue codes or standards. However, NIST will work with relevant public and private ​stakeholders ​to​ develop technical underpinning for potential new or improved code and standard provisions and​ encourage voluntary implementation​, through the consensus process,​ of the recommendations in its final report. 

Created February 6, 2024, Updated April 11, 2024