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National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program


This project provides leadership of windstorm and coastal inundation impact reduction R&D activities within the Engineering Laboratory. NIST is designated by Congress as one of four agencies comprising the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program [1] (created by PL 108-360) or NWIRP, along with FEMA, NOAA, NSF, and OSTP as the lead agency. This project also supports interagency coordination and reporting activities, as well as planning activities associated with potentially being designated the NWIRP lead agency (H.R. 23).


Objective - Lead NIST's National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program research and development (R&D) to improve model codes, standards, design guidance, and practices for the construction and retrofit of buildings, structures, and lifelines.

What is the new technical idea? Improve safety and resilience of buildings, structures and lifelines by:

  1. Supporting the development of instrumentation, data processing, archival capabilities, and standards for the instrumentation and its deployment, to measure wind, wind loading, and other properties of severe wind and structural response; 
  2. Coordinating with other appropriate Federal agencies to make the collected data available to researchers, standards and code developers, and local authorities; 
  3. Supporting development of tools and methods for the collection of data on the loss of and damage to structures, and data on surviving structures after severe windstorm events; 
  4. Improving knowledge of the impact of severe wind on buildings, structures, lifelines, and communities; 
  5. Developing cost-effective windstorm impact reduction tools, methods, and technologies; 
  6. Working, in conjunction with other appropriate Federal agencies, to support the development of wind standards and model codes; 
  7. Working closely with key stakeholders to promote better building practices, in conjunction with other appropriate Federal agencies; 
  8. Coordinating with the NIST Director of Disaster and Failure Studies Program within the Engineering Laboratory and with the other NWIRP agencies and stakeholders to respond to disaster and failure events following windstorms, including: 
      1. staffing of study teams; 
      2. field data collection studies, 
      3. creating and maintaining a database repository related to windstorms; 
      4. the performance of the built environment during windstorm events; 
      5. associated emergency response and evacuation procedures; 
      6. pre-disaster mitigation studies specific to windstorms, a
      7. developing, in consultation with EL Disaster and Failure Studies, protocols for coordination of NWIRP and other federal agencies' and stakeholders' participation in disaster and failure event studies following windstorms.

What is the research plan? 

  1. NWIRP Statutory Responsibilities and Leadership of NIST NWIRP R&D: 
    1. complete required NWIRP biennial reports to Congress, in collaboration with the other NWIRP agencies (OSTP, FEMA, NSF, NOAA); 
    2. represent NIST on the Windstorm Working Group of the Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction (within the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability of the National Science and Technology Council); 
    3. align NIST research and development efforts with priorities identified in the Measurement Science R&D Roadmap for Windstorm and Coastal Inundation Impact Reduction (NIST 2014);
    4. coordinate NIST R&D efforts with other federal agencies and the broader R&D community and profession, through development of working groups and technical committees addressing areas such as design for tornadoes, computational wind engineering, performance-based design for wind hazards. 
  2. Technical Activities: 
    1. Performance-based design (PBD) for wind hazards: Using review and analysis of PBD literature and input from industry's leading practitioners and academics, develop a framework for PBD for wind loads identifying performance levels, evaluation tools, and acceptance criteria. 
    2. Refurbish an existing PML wind tunnel and validate test and measurement systems in the new boundary layer wind tunnel test section; use comparison of experimental results on a building model with other wind tunnel laboratories to validate wind tunnel measurement systems performance. 
    3. Lead NWIRP technology transfer, translating NIST windstorm impact reduction research through participation in codes and standards processes. Building and Fire Codes and Standards, Multi-Hazard Failure Analysis, Wind Engineering 

[1] Created by the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act of 2004, PL 108-360.

Start Date:

November 3, 2011

Lead Organizational Unit:



Project Leader: Dr. Marc Levitan


General Information:
Dr. Marc Levitan, Project Leader
301-975-5340 Telephone

100 Bureau Drive, M/S 8611
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8611