Florida residents pay closer attention to the weather during the Atlantic hurricane season – and with good reason. From June through November each year, it’s important that they track developing systems and review their hurricane preparedness plans in order to stay safe from these powerful storms.
Those considering manufactured homes in Florida may have additional safety concerns during hurricane season. Here’s everything you need to know about manufactured home strength and how a manufactured home can withstand a hurricane.
Manufactured Homes in Florida Must Meet Federal Building Standards
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew made landfall in Florida and damaged or destroyed more buildings than any other hurricane that has ever hit the state. In response, the state of Florida reviewed building standards for manufactured homes and began enacting increasingly stronger building codes in an attempt to mitigate future damages.
The Department of Housing of Urban Development (HUD) requires all manufactured homes to be built to specific safety and quality specifications. They have also established safety standards regarding wind zones, which requires these homes to be built to withstand certain wind speeds.
All areas of Florida are considered high wind areas (Zone II or Zone III). The majority of Florida falls within Wind Zone II, while the southernmost tip of the Florida peninsula and parts of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts fall within Wind Zone III.
Within each of the high wind zones, the following standards must be met:
- Zone II homes must withstand a force of 39 pounds per square foot and are designed for sustained wind speeds of 100 mph.
- Zone III homes must withstand a force of 47 pounds per square foot and are designed for sustained wind speeds of 110 mph.
A HUD data plate posted inside your home will display your wind zone. A manufactured home must meet or exceed zone standards in order to withstand a powerful storm. This means Zone III homes can be built in Zone II areas, but Zone II homes cannot be built in Zone III areas.
How to Protect Your Manufactured Home During a Hurricane
Although a manufactured home can withstand intense storms and hurricanes, extra steps can be taken to protect your home from severe weather conditions. Follow state and federal recommendations, have a home preparation plan in place, and know your evacuation zone in the event local conditions become too dangerous to remain in your home.
Here are some additional tips to keep your manufactured home as safe as possible during a hurricane or tropical storm:
- Buy shutters or plywood in advance. Manufactured homes are designed to easily board or shutter windows and doors. Plan to buy plywood and shutters ahead of time, and have them cut to proper sizes for quick installation when needed.
- Secure outdoor items. Remember to remove or secure all outdoor items that might blow away, including patio furniture, potted plants, and recreational equipment.
- Install window and door protections. Use exterior grade-rated sheathing plywood to provide extra protection for doors and windows.
- Repair storm prep work and damage. When it’s safe to return to your home, remove all coverings and protections, fill any holes created by screws used during storm prep with a high-quality exterior-grade caulk, and make any additional household repairs as needed. Doing home improvements without proper know-how can be dangerous, so be sure to hire a professional for the repairs you aren’t comfortable making or don’t know how to do yourself.
If you’re a current or future resident of a Jacobsen home, use our Disaster Guide for Community Residents to learn about the importance of storm prep, how to put together a family emergency kit, and how to create an evacuation plan.
For extra guidance on storm protection, see our windstorm prep guide.
Why Are Jacobsen Manufactured Homes Storm Safe?
Jacobsen Homes takes extra care and precautions to make sure your manufactured home meets or exceeds state and federal building code standards set forth by the HUD. In addition to compliance with these standards, our manufactured homes are built to the highest standards and comply with the National Electrical Code.
See for yourself how Jacobsen Homes are built with large Florida storms in mind: check out this video showing a manufactured home in Naples withstanding Hurricane Irma. If you’d like to learn more details about our building practices and safety standards, contact us for more information.