Tornado and Hurricane Hazards: Reconnaissance, Structural Analysis and Vulnerability Modeling
Plaz, Fernando Simon
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This thesis is composed of three main projects which are directly linked to wind engineering. Hazards such as tornadoes and hurricanes are natural disasters which causes human and economic losses. First, the study consists on a forensic analysis made to a Tornado that hit Funing and Sheyang counties, in the Jiangsu Province of China. 21 villages, mostly rural, experienced important damages to different type of structures. The work will describe field observations and structural analyses made to communication towers. Preliminary estimates of wind speeds will be given based on the observations and the analysis as well as recommendations to reduce failures and losses on the future. Next, the second project consist on a forensic analysis made to Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma. Irma landed at Florida Keys as a category 4 storm. Two teams were deployed at Florida Keys to do a reconnaissance. The assessment was facilitated by using a mobile custom application named Fulcrum. Where the team documented photos of structures, buildings information and damage ratios per components for each record evaluated. Then an exhausting data curation was made to do a quality check of the recollected information. Also, statistics such as distribution of damage and construction materials were analyzed. Finally, different cases affected by wind and/or surge are discussed. The last project, included on Appendix C, regards on Florida Public Hurricane Loss Model, which is a catastrophe model that predicts insurance losses due to intensive wind events. A comparison study of vulnerability curves is made between two models, the Personal Residential Model and The Commercial Low-Rise Model. The objective is to understand their differences to produce on the future a merged model.