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Old 09-23-2005, 09:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Thinking Outside the Box: Weathering a Hurricane in a Parking Garage

I was talking to a friend last night and her mentioned that his friend is weathering the storm in Houston – a Jewish man who will be staying in a church basement. That’s another story.

My friend then had an interesting plan if our city were to be hit by a hurricane and evacuation was not feasible. He would park his car on the third story of a parking garage next to a hospital. The ramps would block winds, the height would keep him safe from flooding, and the garage is structurally sound. If medical attention would be needed, a facility would be within easy access. He could stay informed on the radio and sleep in the reclined seat.

He would be much safer than his home which is surrounded by trees on the river. What do you think of his out-of-the-box idea?

Last edited by Randerolf; 09-23-2005 at 10:19 PM.. Reason: MS word can die
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Old 09-23-2005, 09:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
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He would park his car on the thirst story of a parking garage next to a hospital.
I think he should park his car on the hunger story. He can go longer without food than water.


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Old 09-23-2005, 09:12 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Block winds? I don't think so. It might even magnify/concentrate some winds, when they come in the right direction. Also, I'm not sure about "structurally sound", and what sort of windloads a parking garage would be rated for. But, I'd be more concerned about being blown out of the parking garage by the winds.
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Old 09-23-2005, 09:21 AM   #4 (permalink)
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People over-rate food and water when it comes to needs. What about sex? Does this parking garage have women?
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Old 09-25-2005, 06:19 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I've always wondered about the effectiveness of an aerodynamiclly designed buiding in preventing hurricane damage. How about a low profile dome shape? Assuming it was strong enough to withstand the assault of flying debris, wouldn't those high winds just skim over and around it?
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Old 09-25-2005, 03:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Astrocloud
People over-rate food and water when it comes to needs. What about sex? Does this parking garage have women?
Ahhh yes thinking inside the box
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Old 09-25-2005, 07:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have to think the winds might actually be concentrated as it funneled through the garage too. Also, the real danger in that situation still could be flying debris, right?
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Old 09-25-2005, 09:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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plain concrete structures with no brickwork would be the hardest to damage in a hurricane. bricks arent usually tied into the structure and dont have the lateral support that concrete does with the reinforcement. plus most carparks are open, therefore less wind force against walls. smart idea i'd say, as long as you find yourself a niche somewhere. thats if some homeless dude hasnt taken the spot from years back!
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Old 09-25-2005, 10:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redlemon
Block winds? I don't think so. It might even magnify/concentrate some winds, when they come in the right direction. Also, I'm not sure about "structurally sound", and what sort of windloads a parking garage would be rated for. But, I'd be more concerned about being blown out of the parking garage by the winds.
To dispell all the questions in the thread, i'll point out a few things:

1. Even a Category 5 hurricane (winds around 165mph, maybe gusting to 170 or 175) couldn't push a car on a level surface. When you hear about cars being moved around, it's always because there was flooding. Floodwaters, even relatively shallow ones, CAN move a car.

2. Parking garages are solid concrete and steel. Consider each level can hold about 100 cars, and we'll assume everyone drives a compact car. At the very least, that means the support structure can hold up over 100 tons of weight. Besides, it's SOLID CONCRETE AND STEEL, there's no way hurricane-force winds can touch it. Most hurricane damage comes from flying debris, or heavy things falling down on other things. Regardless, if you flew at a support beam in a car, the support beam is going to bruise a little, but come away smiling. There's simply no way the materials of the parking garage would be susceptible to damage from a hurricane.

3. Parking garages are way too open to create any tunnels of concentrated wind, or any issues with changes in pressure that would cause the wind to accelerate within it... they're open on all 4 sides, you wouldn't really experience any real difference in air speed... at worst, maybe gusting up another 10mph... but you're still not going to blow away, regardless.

4. Debris is a good concern, but most airborne debris stays relatively low to the ground. If you know the direction the hurricane is blowing, you could park somewhere with a wall in between you, and you'd likely be fine from any flying dangers. Regardless, i'd completely tape my windows just in case.

It may not be perfect, but it actually appears to be a pretty sound idea. It's certainly better than in a regular house, next to a source of water that could overflow and trap you.
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Old 09-26-2005, 06:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by analog
To dispell all the questions in the thread, i'll point out a few things:
Hey, he cheated, he's using facts!

Interesting stuff, I really didn't know most of that. Thanks.
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Old 09-26-2005, 11:18 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fresnelly
I've always wondered about the effectiveness of an aerodynamiclly designed buiding in preventing hurricane damage. How about a low profile dome shape? Assuming it was strong enough to withstand the assault of flying debris, wouldn't those high winds just skim over and around it?
they have been selling these homes for years, they are shaped like a geodesic dome, and built of concrete pieces on a steel frame. Look up R. Buckminster Fuller for more details.
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Old 09-26-2005, 11:48 AM   #12 (permalink)
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The only problem I see with this is that the companies that own the garages often close them at certain times. One at a hospital, though, you would think would remain open. I like the idea, but you have to make sure you are able to get into the garage - that is, that they don't lock you out, and once you get in hopefully they won't try to kick you out. Plus if you are paying by the hr the rates could add up. But then most states have max amt charges per day, like $24 or something like that. Maybe if you're lucky and the power goes out you can skip out without paying.
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Old 09-26-2005, 11:54 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I have to agree with everything Analog said. A parking garage would be an ideal place to wait out a hurricane.

Parking garages and libraries are the sturdiest structures made today. They have to be considering the immense weight they hold up.

Here's another interesting fact about parking garages (although my data is about 8 yrs. old)... I've been told it costs roughly $100k PER PARKING SPACE to build one!
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Old 09-27-2005, 06:35 PM   #14 (permalink)
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im a builder in australia, so i know a litle bit about costings..100K/car space sounds too much...unless the car space was 100 square metres.

since furnishings are what blow costs out, car parks have no finishes, so they are quite cheap to biuild.
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Old 09-27-2005, 10:54 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redlemon
Hey, he cheated, he's using facts!
Yeah, but all his mighty 'facts' can't help him in the real debate.

We all know Godzilla would kick Superman's ass.

Fortunately I live in a region where a full force hurricane is about as likely as, well.. a Godzilla attack. But it's worth knowing all the same.
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