The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) will soon be hosting its final Friday Forum of the year, focusing on Hurricane Irma and impacted homes in Florida.
Hurricane Irma struck the island countries in the Caribbean before traversing the west coast of Florida. Credit: Sarah A. Stevenson, Western University.
The webinar – Hurricane Irma Damage Assessment: Investigating the performance of Florida’s homes during Hurricane Irma – will be held on Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
In September, Hurricane Irma struck the island countries of the Caribbean before traversing the west coast of Florida, noted information from ICLR. Following the storm, Western University students Sarah Stevenson and Emilio Hong travelled to Florida to assist researchers at the University of Florida with early assessments of the structural damage. The week-long investigation covered the northern and southwestern regions of the Florida Peninsula and involved house-by-house inspections in the hardest hit neighbourhoods.
The mobile data collection app Fulcrum was used, with custom damage survey form prepared by faculty at Auburn University in Alabama, to record damage survey observations and store photos for each surveyed property, the ICLR information said. The goal of the investigation was to assess the state-wide performance of residential structures subjected to coastal wind, tornado and/or storm surge hazards resulting from the hurricane.
In the webinar, Stevenson and Hong will provide an overview of Hurricane Irma’s path and wind speed history, and discuss the survey methodology and tools, observed damage and preliminary findings of the investigation.
Stevenson is a PhD student in structural engineering at Western University in Ontario. Her research focuses on improving the hurricane resistance of residential structure in the Caribbean. She recently completed her MESc. In wind engineering at Western University; her thesis research examined the behavior of wood-frame roofs under extreme wind loads using data from past damage surveys and finite element modelling. ICLR reported that Stevenson has also participated in several post-storm assessment with Environment Canada, including surveying the damage from the Windsor, Ont. tornadoes in August, 2016.
Hong is currently a research engineer at Western University. His work is part of a project studying the identification of tornadoes in northern Ontario based on tree-fall patterns from aerial imagery. Hong completed his MESc. in wind engineering at Western University in 2017. His thesis research examined pressure coefficients on the walls of mid- and high-rise buildings. He has also participated in post-storm damage survey, highlighted by the Angus, Ont. tornado of 2014, the 2016 Windsor tornado and the Quebec tornadoes this year.