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Performance of Physical Structures in Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita: A Reconnaissance Report.


pdf icon Performance of Physical Structures in Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita: A Reconnaissance Report. (7879 K)
National Institute of Standards and Technology

NIST TN 1476; NIST Technical Note 1476; 263 p. June 2006.

Keywords:

hurricanes; weather effects; structures; environmental effects; wind velocity; flooding; damage; residential buildings; impact; wind effects; structural systems; roofs; windows; cladding; natural gas; water damage; transportation; water; water supply; surveys; waste disposal; industrial buildings; building construction; standards; codes

Abstract:

This is the final report on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) led-reconnaissance to assess the performance of physical structures during Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. The report describes the environmental conditions (wind speed, storm surge, and flooding) that were present during the hurricanes in regions that were affected by the hurricanes. The report further documents the NIST-led team's observations of damage to major buildings, infrastructure, and residential structures resulting from wind and wind-borne debris, storm surge, surge-borne debris, and surge-induced flooding. Following Hurricane Katrina's landfall on August 29, 2005, NIST began planning for a two-phase reconnaissance to study and document damage to major buildings, infrastructure, and residential structures. In phase 1, NIST deployed a roofing expert with a team assembled by the Roofing Industry Committee on Weathering Issues (RICOWI) during the week of September 6, 2005 to study damage to roofing systems in Mississippi Gulf Coast region. NIST deployed four structural engineers in cooperation with the FEMA Mitigation Assessment Team (MAT) during the week of September 26, 2005 to study damage in the Mississippi Gulf Coast region. Two NIST members of this team also inspected the breaches in the floodwalls and levees, as well as damage to major buildings, in New Orleans. These phase 1 deployments provided input that was used to plan a broader phase 2 reconnaissance to study damage in the Mississippi coastal area, New Orleans, and Southeast Texas (the area affected by Hurricane Rita). In the phase 2 reconnaissance, 26 experts from the private sector, universities, and federal agencies (including 6 from NIST) deployed during the weeks of October 10, 2005 and October 17, 2005. This report documents the observations made during these deployments and subsequent analysis of damage data and environmental actions. It also outlines the major findings of the NIST-led reconnaissance team. The report concludes with 23 recommendations for: (1) improvements to practice that will have an immediate impact on the rebuilding of structures damaged or destroyed by the hurricanes; (2) improvements to standards, codes, and practice; and (3) further study or research and development.