Image-Based Wind Damage Functions

James Womble, Douglas Smith, John Schroeder, Daan Liang, Tanya M. Brown, Kishor Mehta

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Wind damage functions express the correlation of wind speeds and damage levels for various types of structures. They play a vital role in the prediction of damage for a given wind speed; are critical for the continued calibration of wind hazard models; and are valuable for the statistical estimation of wind damage severity for structures that are otherwise destroyed. In recent wind storms such as Hurricanes Katrina (2005) and Ike (2008), wind effects have been co-mingled with storm-surge effects. In many cases, storm surge has completely destroyed all evidence of any wind damage, but for settlement of insurance claims it is desired to have an estimate of the maximum probable wind damage that occurred prior to destruction of a building. Historically, maximum wind speeds in severe wind storms have been mostly unknown, and the collection of widespread and comprehensive damage data via ground surveys has been impossible. It is now possible to construct improved wind damage functions based on highresolution post-storm imagery by correlating observed damage levels and known wind speeds through the merger of new and significant technological developments, including: portable and ruggedized instruments that measure wind speeds in-site, numerical modeling techniques that produce region-wide velocity fields from available measurements, remote-sensing platforms that facilitate the rapid capture and preservation of damage data, and interpretation techniques that aid in identifying levels of wind damage depicted in these remote-sensing data.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Oct 2009


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