Given its chronic status as one of the poorest states in America, it should surprise no one that South Carolina leads the nation in manufactured housing. At least one of every five housing units in the Palmetto State is of the mobile variety, which makes the current forecast track of monster storm Hurricane Florence all the more worrisome.
Will these dwellings stand up to the ferocity of this tropical system?
Industry advocates are optimistic. According to the Manufactured Housing Institute of South Carolina (MHISC), reforms enacted in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew have made these structures far more resilient in the face of tropical storms and hurricanes.
Federal law requires that a mobile home built and installed after 1994 in the nine South Carolina counties nearest to the coast must be able to withstand winds of 100 miles per hour. This applies to post-1994 homes built and installed in Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, Jasper and Williamsburg counties.
Homes placed in the remaining thirty-seven inland counties must be able to withstand sustained wind gusts of eighty miles per hour.
These homes, the institute claims, are every bit as safe as traditional homes …
According to the institute, homes built prior to 1976 do not adhere to the latest guidelines. Which is why they deserve the moniker “mobile homes.”
“Most of the wind damage viewers see on television involves older homes,” the organization noted in a recent advisory. “Prior to 1976 the homes were built to a patchwork of state, local and voluntary codes. Some were well built; others were not.”
The group also stated that “the most common reason for wind damage in manufactured homes is improper installation, rather than the structure of the home itself.”
“A manufactured home will perform properly in high winds only if it is properly installed,” the group stated.
Do you reside in a mobile … err, manufactured home? If so, here is a guide the institute has prepared for you in anticipation of Florence’s arrival …
Do we buy this group’s optimism regarding the integrity of these structures? Ask us that question next week after Florence has done its worst …
WANNA SOUND OFF?
Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our stories? Please feel free to submit your own guest column or letter to the editor via-email HERE. Got a tip for us? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question or a glitch to report? CLICK HERE. Want to support what we’re doing? SUBSCRIBE HERE.