Last year, we experienced one of the busiest hurricane seasons in the Gulf, and considering ways to protect belongings is on our mind now that we are in the midst of hurricane season again.
Hurricanes have the potential to create 150+ mph winds, so the question stands, can a shipping container withstand a hurricane? The answer is yes; a shipping container can be a great way to protect your belongings during a storm—if installed correctly.
Most of the catastrophic damage from a hurricane is to framed houses as they break under immense loads. Storm surge, power outages, and fallen trees can all impact the integrity of your shipping container more than high winds will.
Here are the ranges of wind speeds for different categories of storms:
- Category 1 – 74-95 mph: Very dangerous winds will produce some damage
- Category 2 – 96-110 mph: Extreme winds will cause extensive damage
- Category 3 – 11-129 mph: Devastating damage can occur
- Category 4 – 130-156 mph: Catastrophic damage can occur
- Category 5 – 157 mph or higher: More catastrophic damage
Shipping containers are built to be strong enough for a life at sea. They might be subjected to 100 mph winds and 50-foot waves while traversing the ocean, so if your shipping container was able to survive that, it will likely be okay through a hurricane too!
Wind Container Wind Ratings and Load Capacity
Wind is usually not something that needs to be considered when using a shipping container for a storage unit or modular office—unless you live in a hurricane-prone area!
When shipping containers are loaded onto a ship for shipment, they are stacked several wide, and several high, then are secured tightly to prevent them from rocking overboard in heavy ocean swells or being blown off in the high wind.
Wind load is calculated by finding the wind pressure, coefficient drag, force, and area. Here are some general ratings for shipping containers based on that calculation:
- 20-foot steel shipping container: 150 mph
- 40-foot steel shipping container: 140 mph
- 40-foot steel high cube shipping container: 130 mph
Note: The above numbers are not to be used for exact calculations, as calculations are based on geographical location and other factors. Please consult a licensed Engineer for your container.
Even without securing a shipping container down, it can generally withstand high winds and storms. If unsecured and standing alone, they could handle up to 130 mph winds, but if fastened to a proper foundation (as we recommend), they could take wind speeds of up to 175mph. Steel cargo containers are built to withstand storms while being transported on the ocean, and should not leak or get damaged by high winds and rain.
Preparing for a Hurricane
Even though shipping containers are rated to withstand high winds, precautions should be taken before a hurricane rolls through your area.
Prepare for a hurricane by:
- Anchor your shipping container with proper tie-downs.
- Install anchors per manufacturer’s directions.
- It is recommended to use four tie-downs for eight-foot-wide containers.
- Prune or remove any trees that could damage your mobile shipping container office in high hurricane-force winds.
- Reinforce your container’s doors and windows with storm windows or shutters.
- Ensure that the foundation is high and strong enough for flood protection.
- Be prepared. Insure your container against storm damage before a storm is forecasted.
Weather the Storm with A American Container
As you can see, shipping containers can withstand quite a bit of wind! Ready to store and protect your belongings or build a ground-level office for your job site or a hobby space that can withstand a hurricane? Call our friendly customer service team at A American Container in Tampa, FL —813.740.1911!
The possibilities are endless with shipping containers. We’ll help you think outside the box.