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A Recap of Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Earthquakes

a Lighting Strike and American Ingenuity Domes

Our best wishes and thoughts go out to all the people affected by the earthquake in Haiti and Chile.

Q: What wind, seismic, and snow loads will the Ai dome withstand?
A triangle is the strongest shape known to man.  To view a video that explains this click on Triangle.  Most of the American Ingenuity geodesic dome consists of triangle shaped panels which combined with the steel reinforced concrete exterior, makes the dome incredibly strong and easily enhanced to accommodate unusual requirements. The standard design will accommodate 250 mph. winds, 90 lb. snow loads and #9 earthquakes. If that is not enough, just tell us what you need.

Two of Ai's domes in Hawaii went through a 6.6 earthquake in 2006 and suffered no structural damage. To learn more about the earthquake, click on ABC News Link and on MSNBC News Link

For over thirty years, American Ingenuity's dome design has proved itself by withstanding the following acts of nature with no structural damage: Hurricane Andrew's 200 mph winds, a tornado that rolled up a steel horse trailer and slammed it against the Menendez dome, four hurricanes in 2004, Hurricane Katrina, 6.6 earthquake in 2006, sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow loads of the Northwest Territory of Canada, a 30" in diameter 115 foot tall hickory tree impact, a lighting strike and many other conditions.

More about steel horse trailer impact: American Ingenuity warranties their concrete domes against hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes. Since our dome kit manufacturing business started, Ai has sold kits into 46 states and twelve foreign areas. Since then Ai does not know of any of our client's domes suffering any damage due to hurricanes, earthquakes or tornadoes except for one dome during Hurricane Andrew. During Andrew a tornado slammed a two wide metal horse trailer against a 45’ Ai Dome.  A riser wall of the dome ended up with a hairline crack and a missing chunk of concrete. The dome owner caulked the crack, mixed up some fiber concrete to fill the chunk and then painted over the area.

More about the tree impact: There was no damage to the Brack's 48' Ai dome or its basement after winds in excess of 75 mph hit North Carolina in July of 1996. The real test came when a 115' high, 30" in diameter hickory tree was blown over and fell on their dome. The impact broke a 10" diameter branch. The tree slid off the dome and landed on a deck post driving it and it's 16" square concrete footer 6" further into the ground. The insurance agent who inspected the damage to the deck conveyed his amazement about the dome's strength with this comment, "If that had been a frame house the tree would have ended up in the basement!"

More about the lightning strike: American Ingenuity's 45' office dome withstood another one of nature's most powerful forces, a LIGHTNING STRIKE. The lightning hit the outer edge of an entryway and the only damage it did to the dome was to knock off a handful of concrete at the point of impact! A couple of our computers have not been the same since, but the cost to repair the dome did not exceed $30 in materials and labor.

More about heavy snow loads: In 1995 Mr. and Mrs. Carroll visited Robens and Tom Napolitan's dome.  Robens was enthusiastic, but Tom was not. Tom explained to the Carroll's, "its all HER idea, I didn't want a dome." Mary Carroll phoned the Napolitans in 1996.  Mrs. Carroll said you couldn't keep Tom quiet this time.  He had nothing but wonderful things to say about the dome and had completely turned around about the wonders of living in an American Ingenuity dome.....ROOFS HAD COLLAPSED in their area under several feet of snow, but NOT HIS DOME!   Tom's turnaround sold Mary and her husband on an Ai dome. 

This recap starts with the most current hurricane, Ike. 

HURRICANE IKE, September 2008

third most destructive hurricane

to ever make landfall in the United States

Vicki and David Evans of Seabrook, Texas went through Hurricane Ike in an American Ingenuity dome home (48’ and 34’ with 40’ screen dome).  Vicki states, “Our domes had no damage although we had significant tree damage on our one acre lot.  We slept through Hurricane Ike and only the next day realized how violent the hurricane had been.  Whole communities two miles away in the Galveston Bay area  were destroyed.  Our neighbors could not believe that we slept through the storm….they told us that they had been up all night due to the violent winds and noise. We did not have to replace or repair our roof. YEA!  Many of our neighbors have spent the last several months replacing their roofs.   Because of the aerodynamic shape of the dome, its steel reinforced concrete construction and its thick insulation, the hurricane sounds were not absorbed through the walls of the dome and our domes had no damage.  We are really glad that we built our domes back in 1991.”

The following info about Ike came from the Wikipedia dictionary.

Hurricane Ike was the third most destructive hurricane to ever make landfall in the United States. It was the ninth named storm, fifth hurricane and third major hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. It was a Cape Verde-type hurricane, as it started as a tropical disturbance off the coast of Africa near the end of August, then tracked south of Cape Verde and slowly developed. On September 1, 2008, it became a tropical storm west of the Cape Verde islands.

By the early morning hours of September 5, Ike was a Category 4 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph (230 km/h) and a pressure of 935 mbar (27.61 in Hg). That made it the most intense storm in the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. Ike also had the highest IKE (Integrated Kinetic Energy) of any Atlantic storm in history. Integrated Kinetic Energy is a measure of storm surge destructive potential, similar to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, though the IKE is more complex and in many ways more accurate. On a scale that ranges from 1 to 6, with 6 being highest destructive potential, Ike earned a 5.6 on September 11 at 12:30 p.m. EDT. In comparison to Ike, hurricanes Katrina and Wilma, both from the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season peaked at 5.1. As such, had Ike made landfall as a Category 3 or higher, the hurricane would have likely had a record breaking storm surge and the potential for damage could have been worse than what was seen with Hurricane Katrina. However, Ike made its final landfall in Baytown, Texas, United States as a Category 2 hurricane.

Ike was blamed for at least 195 deaths. Of these, 74 were in Haiti, which was already trying to recover from the impact of three storms earlier that year: Fay, Gustav, and Hanna. In the United States, 112 people were killed, and 34 are still missing. Damages from Ike in US coastal and inland areas are estimated at $24 billion (2008 USD), with additional damage of up to $4 billion in Cuba, $200 million in the Bahamas, and $60 million in the Turks and Caicos, amounting to a total of $28.26 billion in damages. Ike was the third costliest U.S. hurricane of all time, behind Hurricane Andrew of 1992 and Hurricane Katrina of 2005.

Hurricane Katrina   

It appears that Hurricane Katrina has caused many deaths and over $34 Billion dollars in damages making it the worst American Catastrophe. To learn more about American Ingenuity's warranty against Hurricanes, Tornadoes and Earthquakes, click on Warranty. 

According to information from the Insurance Information Institute, the 2004 Florida Hurricanes (Charley, Frances, Jeanne and Ivan) are among the 10 costliest U.S. catastrophes when measured by insured damages. At the time of the 2004 hurricanes, American Ingenuity had over 123 concrete domes in Florida, not one of them suffered any damage due to these hurricanes. News reports stated that in 2004 one out of every five residences in Florida suffered damage due to the hurricanes. The following was taken from the Insurance Information Institute's web site On their front page click on "Facts and Statistics," then click on Catastrophes.  As of 2009, Florida allows a wind mitigation form to be filled out by a certified engineer.  Ai domes that have had this form submitted to their insurance companies have paid greatly reduced prices for the hurricane part of their insurance.  One client's premium went from $850 to $90.

Catastrophe (year) Inflation adjusted losses*
Hurricane Katrina (2005)
$40.4 billion
Hurricane Andrew (1992)
$20.86 billion
Sept. 11 Attacks (2001)
$20.05 billion
Northridge, CA Earthquake (1994)
$15.93 billion
Hurricane Charley (2004)
$7.47 billion
Hurricane Ivan (2004)
$7.11 billion

Hurricane Hugo (1989)

$6.39 billion
Hurricane Frances (2004)
$4.59 billion
Hurricane Jeanne (2004)
$3.65 billion
Hurricane Georges (1998)
$3.36 billion
Tropical Storm Allison (2001)
$3.09 billion
Hurricane Opal (1995)
$2.60 billion
Hurricane Floyd (1999)
$2.22 billion

*Note: Adjusted to 2004 dollars by the Insurance Information Institute.


Insured Loss in 2005 (usd) (2)

Aug. 24, 2005
  • United States
  • Gulf of Mexico
  • Bahamas
  • North Atlantic
  • Hurricane
  • Katrina
  • Floods
  • Damage to levees and oil rigs
Aug. 23, 1992
  • United States
  • Bahamas
  • Hurricane Andres
Sept. 11, 2001
  • United States
  • Terrorist attacks on WTC
  • Pentagon
  • Other buildings
Jan. 17, 1994
  • United States
  • Northbridge
  • Earthquake (magnitude 6.6)
Sept. 2, 2004
  • United States
  • Caribbean
  • Barbados
  • et al.
  • Hurricane Ivan
  • Damage to oil rigs
Sept. 20, 2005
  • United States
  • Gulf of Mexico
  • Cuba
  • Hurricane Rita
  • Floods
  • Damage to oil rigs
Oct. 15, 2005
  • United States
  • Mexico
  • Jamaica
  • Haiti et al.
  • Hurricane Wilma
  • Torrential rain
  • Floods
Aug. 11, 2004
  • United States
  • Caribbean
  • Cuba
  • Jamaica
  • et al.
  • Hurricane Charley
Sept. 27, 1991
  • Japan
  • Typhoon
  • Mireille/No. 19
Jan. 25, 1990
  • France
  • United Kingdom
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands
  • et al.
  • Winterstrom
  • Daria

(1) Property and business interruption losses, excluding life and liability losses

(2) Adjusted to 2005 dollars by Swiss Re.

Note: Loss data shown here may differ from figures shown elsewhere for the same event due to differences in the date of publication, the geographical area covered and other criteria used by organizations collecting the data.

Source: Swiss Re, sigma, No. 2/2006

American Ingenuity's Concrete Dome Homes

Have Exceptional Strength

A dome shape has inherent strength that exceeds all other home designs as proven by Buckminster Fuller. Our reinforced concrete dome homes shell is virtually indestructible, able to withstand enormous wind and snow loads and capable of supporting four fee of earth berming.

As home manufacturers American Ingenuity is confident of its housing kits and Ai offers a structural guarantee the dome will withstand hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes. To read about Ai's warranty, click on Guarantee.

During the 2004 Hurricane system, Florida experienced four hurricanes. None of our concrete domes suffered any damage, even though some were in the direct path of Charley, Ivan, Frances and Jeanne.  Below is a recap of that hurricane season and other Ai dome strength info.

Since 1976 Ai has not had any skylights broken during hurricanes or tornadoes. We can only assume that hail has occurred during some of the tornadoes. Because Ai has had individuals ask us about the skylight's breakability, Ai did a test to see when the skylight's tempered glass would break. We had to drop a four foot long 2x4 from 12 feet high before the skylight glass would break. Ai does not think that hail will break it, although Ai does not give a guarantee on the skylights. Skylights can be replaced if need be.

Click on the photos to enlarge them.

These domes are 34' (two bedroom and two bathroom) connected to a 22' one car garage dome. They went through Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Jeanne with no damage. But a conventional house across the street lost its roof. Pictured on the left is a dumpster with that house's shingles and their carpet is on the ground.
This 45' dome went through Hurricane Andrew and had no structural damage. It suffered minor damage when a riser panel was hit by a two wide metal horse trailer. The riser wall ended up with a hairline crack and a missing chunk of concrete. The hurricane blew the plywood off their doors and windows so the interior of their dome suffered some rain damage.



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