Wind Damage, Part 2
HOW WIND CREATES DAMAGE
One of the destructive forces created by wind is uplift, which is the tendency of materials to be lifted into a wind-created vacuum. Uplift can be created by either of two physical conditions: loss of laminar flow, or increased wind speed. Both of these processes reduce the air pressure immediately above the roof-covering material.
Air flowing close to a surface is in a state called “laminar flow.” According to the laws of physics, flowing air will try to maintain contact with a surface. When that surface bends or curves sharply, the air flow can’t turn quickly enough to maintain contact, and it separates from the surface. We say that it “loses laminar flow.” This creates a vacuum, and anything that can move will be lifted up into that vacuum, if the vacuum is strong enough.
The other process that creates uplift is related to the fact that increasing wind speed lowers air pressure. Wind speed on the roof can be up to 2½ times the approach speed, which is the speed of the wind as it blows toward the home. Reduced air pressure from fast-moving air just above the surface of the roof also increases the amount of uplift.
Uplift can develop when wind blows across a roof.
The location of damage on a home will be affected by the orientation of the wind to the roof structure, and by the shape of the roof. In these illustrations, areas of uplift are shown in blue.
When wind blows perpendicular to the eaves and ridge, uplift is created along the upwind side of the lower roof slope and along the downwind side of the ridge.
When wind blows parallel to the eaves and ridge, uplift is created along the upwind rakes.