Manufactured home building regulations and the February 2, 2007 Florida tornadoes
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The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the state of Florida implemented new wind load and tie-down regulations for manufactured homes following Hurricane Andrew. This article examines the effect of the new regulations on the likelihood that occupants of mobile homes would survive a tornado. On February 2, 2007, three tornadoes struck central Florida, resulting in 21 deaths in Lake County, all in manufactured homes. The deaths occurred almost exclusively in homes rated as leveled by the county tax appraiser. Manufactured homes built to the new regulations, however, were significantly less likely to be leveled. Regression analysis finds that manufactured homes built to the post-Andrew requirements were 79% less likely to be leveled than homes built prior to the HUD Code in 1976, and 68% less likely to be leveled than homes built after 1976 but before the 1994 wind load regulations. Construction of all manufactured homes in the tornado paths to the wind load and tie-down requirements could have reduced fatalities by 70%.
KeywordsTornadoes Manufactured homes Fatalities Natural hazards
We would like to thank Peter Peebles and Robbie Ross of the Lake County Tax Appraiser’s Office, Lake County Emergency Manager Jerry Smith, and Bart Hagemayer of the National Weather Service Melbourne Office for their assistance. This research was funded by a Quick Response Grant from the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado.
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