Hurricane damage claims score before start of today’s Bills v Patriots game

A windstorm playing in today’s game between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots provides data on wind damage at various speeds without any associated hurricane bias.

Winds gusting up to 75 mph tore a strip off the Bills’ practice fieldhouse and tilted both goal posts inside Ralph Wilson Stadium prior to Buffalo’s game against the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Though the blustery conditions aren’t expected to delay the start of the 1 p.m. game, work crews used ropes and a forklift to re-secure and re-center the goal posts, which shook heavily in the wind.

Very strong gusts occurred at about 8:30 a.m., when they tore a strip 2 feet wide and more than 50 feet long off the metal roof of the 12-story fieldhouse across the parking lot from the stadium. There was damage reported inside the facility, but no one was injured. Pregame events inside the fieldhouse were canceled.

The winds also tore off part of a goal post on the Bills’ outdoor practice field next to the fieldhouse…

(emphasis added)

Advocates for putting the Saffir-Simpson Scale to rest will, no doubt, find more reliable data from windstorm damage reports – mindful, of course, that scientifically speaking, windstorms are wind-only winter-weather events.

A recent article in the Houston Chronicle noted support by some scientists to replace the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale with other more accurate measures of hurricane destructiveness. It is about time.

I have long questioned the accuracy of Saffir-Simpson. I have seen structures in a high wind event, such as Hurricane Charley, with little or no damage. I have also represented a large multi-story condominium in Destin that’s roof was blown half-way off by Tropical Storm Dennis. The scale was not close to destruction prediction in either case.

The bottom line is that generalizing damage under a wind scale does not individually correlate to the actual destruction of buildings. The Saffir-Simpson Scale is, at best, an estimated prediction in a broadly general sense, rather than a bonafide measuring system of expected damage.

One recurrent problem in the insurance claims business is that insurance industry engineers use the Saffir-Simpson Scale to explain wind damage causation issues.   As previously stated, my experience regarding how any one structure may withstand strong winds varies greatly. If the roof opened or bricks fell off a wall during a category one hurricane, engineers for the insurance company use the Saffir-Simpson to explain that it could not have been caused by the hurricane.

… Bolivar Peninsula residents think Hurricane Ike was the storm of the century. Saffir-Simpson does not even rate Hurricane Ike a major storm. This shows how inaccurate a measuring devise Saffir-Simpson is. Ike should have been rated a Category 5 for Boilvar so people would know that it posed a catastrophic risk to them.

If a “flood” is a “flood” regardless of the source of the water, then “wind damage” is “wind damage” regardless of the reason for the wind – and it’s time to stop playing games with the industry’s Saffir-Simpson ball.

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