What Are Wind Speed Zones?
Within the continental United States are four geographic areas, each with unique conditions that lead to differences in wind speeds. Storm shelters must be able to withstand their specific region’s potential wind speeds to comply with FEMA guidelines. These four wind speed zones are defined by the minimum wind speed that storm shelters must be able to withstand to keep occupants safe. Depending on one’s wind speed zone, your storm shelter must be able to withstand 130mph, 160mph, 200mph or even 250mph winds.
How Can I Tell Which Wind Speed Zone I Live In?
FEMA offers the map below from ICC 500 guidelines. This map details storm shelter design guidelines for and wind speed zones. The map was “developed from an analysis of historic tornadoes and represents a deterministic map of maximum tornadic wind speeds likely to occur in different regions of the country,” meaning the wind speed zones are based on real-life tornados and high-speed wind conditions. Drawing on real-world data offers an additional layer of assurance and reliability for those determining wind speeds their shelter needs to withstand. Each speed on the map is based on reported 3-second gust speeds at 33 feet above flat, open terrain some leading to wind damage or dangerous tornados.
To determine your storm shelter’s wind speed design requirements using your precise location’s address, FEMA recommends that you visit ATC Hazards by Location. This allows you to search zone requirements specific to your given street address.
How Does My Wind Speed Zone Effect My Storm Shelter Options?
The best storm shelters available on the market offer “Near-Absolute Protection.” Near-Absolute Protection is a standard achieved, according to FEMA guidelines, when storm shelter occupants “have a very high probability of being protected from injury or death.” When considering the purchase of a storm shelter, it is important to know your wind speed zone in order to select a storm shelter that is designed accordingly.
At RemainSafe we understand the importance of being prepared in any situation, in any location and at any time. We want to ensure all our customers, no matter where they live, are protected from dangerous winds caused by tornados. Every RemainSafe storm shelter is designed to withstand 250mph winds, meeting the highest wind speed zone requirements in the United States. By applying this high standard to every single storm shelter built, RemainSafe exceeds requirements for most wind speed zones on the map, ensuring you and your family safety in the face of severe wind speeds.