Hurricane Resistant Mobile Homes

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It seems appalling that mobile home parks are treated as lost causes when hurricanes come along. The only thing mobile and factory built homes have going for them is their tie-downs. But even if the tie-downs are strong enough, the mobile home itself cannot take the strains and comes apart at the seams. So what to do? One might think of making the "seams" stronger, but that means heavier, which is not conducive to being "mobile" to say nothing of the much greater cost.

It seems that we need to think outside of the box - literally! Don't worry about reinforcing the mobile home or factory built house itself, but be concerned with an outer wall of protection. It would seem that building a fortress-like fence would be the answer to breaking the force of the strong winds. Such a wall would be much less costly than reinforcing the home itself. What is pictured here is a temporary "elephant" fence that can be stored away between storms - probably the disassembled pieces could be slipped under the mobile home. It amounts to some permanent concrete lined holes in the ground (capped between uses), and into them large treated wood posts would be slipped in the day before the storm. To a series of these posts would be bolted heavy horizontal planks. The sizes of the posts and planks can be ascertained from engineering manuals.

Depending on what other tall buildings, mountains or forests are nearby, it is probably not necessary to make a four-sided stockade, because those other objects will act as widebreaks for those directions.

Fortifications that surround a whole mobile home park might prove ineffective. The ideal is to have as small an area within the compound as possible.

It might be found that some diagonal props might be necessary, and that some sort of locking mechanism be used to prevent the posts from vibrating and lifting out of their respective concrete lined holes. One type of locking mechanism would be that the post is slipped in and turned a quarter or half turn so that a bottom protrusion slips into a socket. The horizontal planks would prevent the post from turning.

The planks should be rather closely spaced both to prevent flying debris from going through the cracks and to slow the wind on the lee side (the home side) as much as possible.

Another consideration is the orientation of the corners of your "fortress". Corners should face into the most prevalently expected direction of the wind so as to act as a knife to cut the wind.

How high the "elephant" fence should be needs to be ascertained. There will be rolling turbulance behind the wall. The hope is that the home can withstand that turbulance.

Aftermath. Once the storm is over, the "elephant" fence can be disassembled and stored in a mobile home park storage area or under the individual mobile homes. Obviously, all the posts and sections should be permanently numbered for rapid fitting during reconstruction.

The Project

Either wind-tunnel or real mock-up structures should be tested.

On a small scale, the study of the turbulence within a "stockade" should be first investigated. This will tell you something about how high the walls need to be relative to the horizontal dimensions. You could use styrofoam packing peanuts inside the stockade, and then direct your wind at the stockade both at right angles to a side and at a corner.

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