Would Wilmington Buildings Withstand Katrina?

AUGUST 31, 2005 --Katrina ripped through Gulf Port Mississippi likely killing 30 people who tried to ride the storm out in an apartment complex. New buildings on our coast must meet wind requirements, but there's no guarantee they would hold up against the 145 mile per hour winds that made up Katrina.

Stewart Pittman of Level Five Developments says all buildings are engineered to withstand 130 mile per hour to meet North Carolina's requirements. Some of those standards include pressurized windows, doors, and galvanized steel reenforcements.

In Pittman's duplexes, threaded rods go all the way from the top of the building, through the top plate. They run down through the foundation of the home. Builders can't continue until an inspector comes in and makes sure that meets hurricane code.

Also required by hurricane code are hurricane clips. They hold rafters down to the top plate. When strong winds come, the clips hold the roof down. On the outside of the development aesthetically pleasing beams are designed for more than looks. Builder Trey Dansey says the structure holds beams down and gives it more stability.

All the features are meant to protect the buildings and the people who live in them. 

"Rarely do you see a structure built for today's codes have problems except for shingles and stuff like that," says Dansey. 

The builders, are making duplexes meant to face a category four storm. The real test for the buildings hit Gulf Port, not Carolina Beach. Now, everyone here is holding their breath those winds won't come ashore in North Carolina.

Reported by Ashley Hayes