Watch house “explode” in 140 mph hurricane winds

Florida International University’s Wall of Wind put a model home to the test Wednesday to see if hurricane fortifications make a difference when a tropical cyclone blows through.

The 12-fan hurricane simulator is the largest and most powerful research facility of it’s kind in the world and has the ability to produce Category 5 hurricane winds. Category 5 winds are 157 mph or higher.

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In Wednesday’s live demonstration, which was filmed by IMAX, the model home didn’t even get to Category 5 winds before it blew to pieces. It started to fail at 140 mph.

The experiment was conducted to show the difference between a house with hurricane-resistant features and one that is unfortified.

Model home before the Wall of Wind was turned on.

Model home before the Wall of Wind was turned on.

The moment just after hurricane force winds destroy a house that had no hurricane safeguards in place such as hurricane shutters, roof ties and an inward opening door. This test was conducted at the FIU Engineering Center Wall of Wind on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 in Miami, FL. (Joseph Forzano / The Palm Beach Post)

The moment just after 140-mph hurricane force winds destroy a house that had no hurricane safeguards in place such as hurricane shutters, roof ties and an inward opening door. This test was conducted at the FIU Engineering Center Wall of Wind on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 in Miami, FL. (Joseph Forzano / The Palm Beach Post)

One side of the house had shutters on its windows and a reinforced roof design. The other used tape to secure the winds, and had an unenforced roof.

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Also, items such as a grill and potted plants were left outside to see what impact hurricane-force winds would have on typical items homeowners leave outside when a storm approaches.

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The Wall of Wind was first assembled in 2005 with just two fans that could generate 120 mph winds. But because of increased demand for higher wind speed testing, the design was bulked up to 12 fans that can replicate the same winds found in Hurricane Katrina and Andrew.

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Erik Salna, Miami, Associate Director and meteorologist at the International Hurricane Research Center at Florida International University tours the Wall of Wind hurricane simulation facility on Thursday, July 30, 2015. The facility is capable of producing category five force winds for load testing structure and municipal equipment. Twelve seven-hundred horsepower electric motors are used to generate the winds. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)

Erik Salna, Miami, Associate Director and meteorologist at the International Hurricane Research Center at Florida International University tours the Wall of Wind hurricane simulation facility on Thursday, July 30, 2015. The facility is capable of producing category five force winds for load testing structure and municipal equipment. Twelve seven-hundred horsepower electric motors are used to generate the winds. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)

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