If you live near the southern or eastern coasts of the USA, you likely live in a HUD designated Wind Zone. What is a wind zone, you ask? The Wind Zone Rating, introduced in 1994, requires manufactured housing to comply to home building standards in order to withstand the higher winds sometimes experienced on the coasts. There are three Wind Zones designated by HUD for manufactured homes.
• Wind Zone III = 110 mph basic wind speed. These areas have the potential to see a hurricane landfall and need to be ready for high winds. This zone includes the Gulf coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. This zone also includes the Atlantic coasts of Florida and the entire eastern seaboard.
• Wind Zone II = 100 mph basic wind speed. This zone is just inland of areas designated as Wind Zone III. Wind Zone II sees weaker winds than Wind Zone III, but still higher than what most of the US would normally see.
• Wind Zone, I = 70 mph basic wind speed. Anything not in Wind Zone II or Wind Zone III falls into Wind Zone I.
Most counties along the Gulf Coast are designated as Wind Zone II counties because they often experience very strong winds, especially when a hurricane makes landfall. Therefore, the homes that are installed in those counties must be built and installed to withstand these higher winds. To be installed in a Wind Zone II county, a manufactured home constructed on or after September 1, 1997, must meet Wind Zone II standards. Wind Zone II homes and homes built prior to September 1, 1997, may be installed in a Wind Zone I or II county without restriction. Wind Zone I homes may not be installed in those counties designated as Wind Zone II.
As a result of these requirements, mobile homes produced since 1994 have been proven to be safer than site built homes during tornadoes and hurricanes. Since 1997, all manufactured homes (mobile homes) are required to have their wind zone rating listed on the data plate of the home. You can determine the wind zone of your home from that data plate.
Each mobile home must be designed and constructed to conform to one of the three wind load zones. Homes designed and constructed to a higher Wind Zone can be installed in a lower Wind Zone. When you are familiar with your particular wind zone you can ensure you have a properly rated home for your area. If you are not sure of what wind zone you are in, your local mobile home dealer can help you determine the wind zone for your area.
Make sure you are up to date! Remember that it is important to match your mobile/manufactured home to the correct wind zone not only because it is the law, but also because the lower rated wind zone homes are not guaranteed to withstand the winds encountered along the coasts. Be sure to protect your investment by matching the right home to the wind zone you live in.