Building Storm

Adventures in home foreclosure continue: empty homes in the U.S. hurricane belt run the risk of becoming "wind-propelled debris."

As the Associated Press reports, "communities at the epicenter of the nation's housing crisis are coming to realize that this year's hurricane season, which began this month, represents yet another pitfall." In other words, "hurricanes could make hazards of thousands of foreclosed-upon houses" – turning those homes into airborne projectiles. Building-storms.

After all, the AP asks, "who will secure all the foreclosed homes if a storm does approach?"

It must be an eery feeling, I'd suspect, when you realize that all those empty houses sitting around you might someday be weaponized: latent storms of wood and vinyl siding just waiting for the moment when they can pick up and whirl through the streets, like something out of Transformers 3.

But do you tear the houses down in advance of a storm that might never arrive? Or do you surround your own home with vast nets and deflection shields for protection against inevitable debris?

Ironically, as Steve Silberman – who first sent me this link – points out, there is simultaneous interest in using these very foreclosed homes as hurricane shelters. As the Florida Courier points out, this idea, if implemented, would also "address a source of concern among emergency specialists in Florida: the growing number of vacant homes that could be splintered into construction debris by a hurricane if no one secures them with shutters and plywood."

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Steve Silberman said...

Thanks for the props, Geoff. Also note that so many homes are being foreclosed and left to rot in Fort Lauderdale alone -- 10 to 15 a day! -- that they're having to pass a new law declaring them "public nuisances."

Fort Lauderdale taking aim at "nuisance" homes

June 15, 2009 6:23 PM  
Blogger Mike Laursen said...

It would be dangerous if all of the assumptions in the AP article were to start flying around in a windstorm: why would a foreclosed home necessarily be left unshuttered -- wouldn't the bank that owns it or the neighbors have motivation to secure it from winds? Are all non-foreclosed homes all that wonderfully maintained? It goes on and on.

June 15, 2009 6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shuttering a window does not make a home less prone to transformation into an air bourne missile. It just stops the rain from coming in. Hurricanes cause a lot of fear mongering and news hype. Unless you live below sea level, they are just bunch of rain and wind.
The bigger fear is all of the abandoned pools and the proliferation of west nile virus.

June 16, 2009 2:35 PM  

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