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  1. #1
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    Default Protection against hurricanes

    I have been tuning into the weather news for some years and have the northcoast on my list, since it always seems to get hit by hurricanes. My question is how do you expats protect yourselves from these potentially lethal storms? I would hope that you would plan to overbuild in preparation for the inevitable event. So, I would be interested to hear some stories as to your experiences during these storms and how your homes fared. I am an architect here in the US and have always designed buildings with seismic events in mind, far beyond the minimum code standards. Actually, here in the US, wind often dominates over seismic so I am well aware as to how to design for high wind areas. What do you do in the DR to protect your homes? I have thought about working in the DR on just such projects to insure that your investment in your home is well protected by following structurally sound practices. And I am more than willing to offer some guidance in this area.

    Ron

  2. #2
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    Uhhh? This is a surprise to me. I thought no major hurricane has hit the north coast of the DR in over a decade. Yeah, maybe the odds are against us now.

  3. #3
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    Excuse me if I am mistaken. I have tracked hurricanes for some 10 years, because I used to live in Cuba and always followed their tracking, so I thought that the north coast go hit as frequently as other areas of the DR.

  4. #4
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    First, I think the DR is peculiar that it doesn't get hit as often as other places in the caribbean. No doubt this is due to the central mountain range which is over 10,000 feet high. This has a tendency to either push the storm to the north or south. Second, well built homes here in the DR are made out of concrete block and reinforced concrete and are much, much stronger that homes and even commercial buildings in the States. Also, typically the foundation is deeper and the roofs are concrete reinforced. I don't know what the wind load resistance is but it certainly has to be more than anything a hurricane cane muster.

    As far as flooding goes here this can be a problem. I doubt they have done any studies to calculate the storm surge elevation in the coastal area, but 10 to 12 feet above msl should be more than enough, and relatively easy to manage in most areas given the natural topography.

  5. #5
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    I too have tracked hurricanes in the Caribbean for the past 16 seasons. A rule of thumb is that if a storm passes below Puerto Rico, it will continue into the Caribbean below the DR and on to Cuba. If it passes to the north of P.R. it will go on to the Atlantic, the Turks and Caicos, Bahamas, etc. but away from the North Coast.

    The DR has mountain ranges that steer these storms. The Nortrh Coast is in the shadow of these mountains, and the ocean currents in the Mona channel beteen P..R: and the DR push them farther north.

    Why don't you use your seismic knowledge here in the DR? As much as Hillbilly and others promote Santiago as paradise, hasn't hte entire city been completely levelled 3 times in its history? That reason alone was enough to disinterest me from living there - I had enough earthquake experience living in Los Angeles in my past.

    Poor materials and poor construction methods already lead to overbuilding in the DR in buildings of any size. Ther would be opportunities for you here for your knowledge.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronks View Post
    What do you do in the DR to protect your homes?
    In the last 45 years 10 hurricanes have come close or actually impacted a part of the DR. On the north coast the greater damage tends to come from rain than wind (mainly they come from the east & will have lost some strength by the time they get to the north coast). Thus tropical storms, particularly those that stall out, can be every bit as problematic, because of rain damage. We have boards to board up glass windows (didn't need to bother in the old wooden house we first had, because it had shutters) against flying objects. Plus all the other usual precautions when a storm is bearing down. We put 12 foot of rubble before we built to make us higher than the surrounding land so that rain would run off, rather than form ornamental ponds .

    Our house was subjected to a 6.2 earthquake on the Richter scale (epicentre about 12 miles distant) in 2003 plus a number of aftershocks (the north coast being conveniently situated between 2 fault lines........). Superficial plaster cracks resulted plus some external tile cracks, nothing structural, fortunately.

  7. #7
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    here are some pics from isabel at my house in north carolina from a few years ago. it was a cat 5 until a day or so before hitting and a cat 2 or 3 at impact. we had actually cleaned up some before these pics. the eye passed over us and it was the swell from the back side that did the most damage. notice the big rocks from our seawall in the yard Picasa Web Albums - Mark - hurricane isabel

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronks View Post
    I have been tuning into the weather news for some years and have the northcoast on my list, since it always seems to get hit by hurricanes.
    Ron
    Where did you get that information from?

  9. #9
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    I believe the concrete construction here doesn't pose no structural risk. The roofs typically are just as secure.

    I haven't ever seen a hurricane awning nor a shutter.

    3d has a protective film you can add to glass. I imagine an awning can be installed on the inside for locations where the moisture and salt spray would otherwise reduce their useful life dramatically.

  10. #10
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    Gringo Carlos: Santiago, at it's present location has never been leveled by anything other that a fire back in the 1860s that was started to keep the Spanish for getting anything.
    The North Coast has yet to be really bothered by a hurricane, although I suppose it could happen at any time.
    However, there are 100 year old wood structures there, tin roofs and all.
    My place over at Punta Rucia is more than 45 years old and nothing yet.

    The East and the South are the two places that reallyget hit. I saw a beautiful place in Casa de Campo built with some very open spaces, that was supposedly built to withstand 100 mph winds...

    And my friends, a builder and an architect, have lived there nearly 40 years with no damage to their houses..(Not on the beach)...

    In Santo Domingo, the poor housing, the low-laying barrios and the really poor neighborhoods are the places that get damaged the most if a hurricanes hits the city.

    HOWEVER, we have yet to see the effects of a "big" one on the dozens of highrises that have sprung up over the years...That will be the test...

    Cordially,

    HB

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