Wind affects different homes in different ways, depending on their design, location and neighboring structures. Among other things, the wind can collapse windows and doors, rip off roof sheathing (decking) and destroy gable end walls. Overhanging eaves and rakes, extended awnings, open porches and other features that tend to trap air beneath them are particularly susceptible to damage.
Wind-borne debris can break windows and damage roof coverings and walls. With or without the help of wind-blown objects, the wind can break through a garage door, window or door on the windward side of the house and move inside, causing uplift forces to more than double. In fact, these powerful forces, which are illustrated below, can literally lift the roof right off the house.
If your house is in an unobstructed location or within 1,500 feet of open water, you are more susceptible to damages caused by high winds. Landscaping can shield your home and divert winds around the building.
Mobile homes, outbuildings, barns, fences, screen enclosures, carports, awnings and canopies can produce wind-borne debris, damaging roofs, walls and windows. The same is true of objects such as garbage cans, bicycles, small boats, lawn furniture, tree limbs, landscaping pebbles and small rocks.
By properly protecting and maintaining your home and property, you can minimize potential damage to your neighbor's home as well as your own. If you are uncertain about whether your house needs changes, call a qualified professional architect, engineer, building contractor or your local building department. A roofing professional can best determine when you should replace an aged roof. You also may need a professional to determine how well a door or window frame is anchored to the exterior walls.
Here are references to two published reports that assessed building performance in Hurricane Andrew in Florida:
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture