As a structural engineer with the APA/Engineered Wood Association, I perform forensic assessments of single- family homes after hurricanes and tornados. On April 16, severe tornados damaged and destroyed many homes in the eastern part of my home state of North Carolina. While I was there on assignment, documenting the destruction around Fayetteville, Raleigh, and Wilson, news came of a much more destructive batch of tornados passing through Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. Back on the road the following week, I visited areas of Alabama that had been damaged by the most severe wind forces I have ever documented - places where buildings, trees, signs, and other familiar landmarks were simply gone, causing residents to become disoriented in their own neighborhoods.

After visiting storm-damaged areas, empathy for those who have lost their homes often leaves me with a sort of post-traumatic stress that lasts for a few weeks as I return to normal life. This time I had a different reaction, however, as I realized that recent APA test results on foundation anchors could be used to protect homes from future...

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