Harvey. Irma. Jose. Katia. No, these are not random names. They are the hurricanes on record while we were preparing this issue of Masonry Design. Most, if not all, of you are familiar with Harvey and Irma, two large hurricanes which brought about incredible destruction in the Southeast United States in August and September — destruction to the tune of tens of billions of dollars in Houston, Texas, and all across the state of Florida.
Shortly before 1 p.m. on Feb. 22, 2011, Christchurch, New Zealand, started to shake. Ten seconds are all it took to change the landscape and the lives of residents: 185 dead, several thousand injured, and 45 percent of buildings deemed unsafe to enter. While many of the deaths in the earthquake occurred in a small number of building collapses, unreinforced masonry (URM) construction suffered widespread damage. However, while the Royal Commission Report identified that 97 percent of the unstrengthened URM buildings in the Central Business District were either seriously damaged or collapsed, only 20 percent of buildings that had been retrofit to a high level experienced serious damage.
Although peak tornado season typically occurs April through June, violent outbursts struck early this year and featured one of the largest tornado events to ever occur in winter. The January 21–23 spate of storms produced 79 confirmed tornadoes across the Deep South from Texas to South Carolina, resulting in the second-deadliest January outbreak on record. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. averages more than 1,000 tornadoes per year — more than any other country. Annual insurance losses from U.S. tornadoes and thunderstorms range in the billions, with the costliest event occurring in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and nearby areas in April 2011, resulting in $7.8 billion in insured damages.
July 28, 2017 — The National Institute of Building Sciences Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSC) will host the sixth webinar in its 2017 series sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The series is intended to highlight the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) 2015 NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions for Buildings and Other Structures, and its supporting materials, FEMA P-1051 Design Examples and FEMA P-1052 Training Materials. The free webinar, “Seismic Design of Masonry with the 2015 NEHRP Provisions,” will be held Friday, August 25, 2017, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT).