How Do Yurts Hold Up In Storms? [Life-Saving Facts!]

If you plan to live in a yurt full-time in an area with unstable weather, you will probably wonder how yurts hold up during storms, and you are not the first one. The weather has always been a concern for all yurt owners.

How Do Yurts Hold Up In Storms?

Yurts do pretty well in storms. Their aerodynamic shape, unique manufacturing components, and design ensure they remain flexible and stable in all kinds of weather. Most modern yurts are designed and tested in real-life conditions, making them safe and durable during storms.

Modern yurts are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, but they have their limits like all other shelters. While most yurts are durable for mild to moderate storms, they are not invincible. 

Besides just physical damage to your yurt, rain water inside your yurt can actually cause your yurt to grow mold which is bad for your health and will eventually damage the yurt material.

If you expect severe conditions, you can invest in some add-ons to fortify your yurt.

The Importance of Yurt Design

Yurts have a very creative structure. They can be taken apart and dismantled into lightweight components to make them easy to transport. But when they are assembled, they can stand firm against rough winds.

There have been reports of yurts that withstand tornadoes that damaged nearby houses in Japan.

A Yurt’s walls are constructed using wood such as willow or hazel and often have some latticed components that can fold away by overlapping on one another like an accordion. The latticed pieces are pinned to each other and assembled to form a circular shape while leaving some space for a door frame. 

They are very similar to assembling a circular fence.

The domed roof of the yurt comprises rafters, which connect the walls to a significantly smaller circle, known as a compression ring, at the crown.

The smaller circle used to be a hole to serve as a chimney or for ventilation. However, it is covered with glass on modern yurts to serve as a skylight.

All these components are bound together using a unique tension band, which gives the yurt significant amounts of strength and flexibility. During heavy rain or snow, the weight pushes the compression ring downwards. 

The tension band counters the force of the compression ring by pushing the rafters upwards and towards the center of the yurt. Since yurts do not have any corners, wind can freely flow around them without finding pockets such as walls or edges.  

The walls are covered using fabric. The originators of the yurts, who are believed to be the Mongolians, used to cover their yurt walls using sheep wool. In the winter, they would add several layers to achieve maximum insulation and take off layers as the temperature began to rise during the summer. 

Modern yurts use vinyl or canvas to cover the walls. These materials are waterproof and lightweight, making them easy to install and remove.

The Mongolians used heavy rugs and mats on a platform to serve as the foundation of their yurts. However, modern yurts rest on solid concrete platforms to maximize durability.

Another critical feature of their design is that they are not very tall. Most six-footers might have to slouch a little when entering their yurt. A shorter height ensures that the surface exposed to the wind is less, and thus the wind makes a lesser impact.

Speaking of size, since there are no internal supports needed, all the space within the circular walls is available for you to use. A yurt that is 15 feet in diameter will provide you with approximately 177 square feet of usable space. 

A 30-foot yurt, usually one of the biggest sizes available, can provide you with approximately 710 square feet of usable space. It is important to remember that as the size of the yurt grows, it becomes more challenging to maintain its strength and durability. 

So if you need more space than what a 30-foot yurt has to offer, you can consider getting multiple yurts.

Yurts Can Withstand Storms

The unique design, which comprises lattices, and rafters, provides the yurts with a high level of flexibility and stability. 

Some yurts are purposely designed to be stronger than others. Depending on where you are planning to install your yurt and the weather conditions it will have to go through, you can have your yurt customized for added durability.

In addition to the design, the materials used for manufacturing the yurt also make a significant difference in its durability. Modern yurts use wood that is machine pressed and passed several grading tests. 

The construction method also plays a vital role. For instance, where some yurts use standard pins to hold the lattice framework in place, those designed to handle stronger winds and more demanding conditions often resort to rivets.

People who have experience living in yurts believe that they are safe and comfortable in all kinds of weather. Many yurts have endured several storms and yet retain their strength and flexibility. 

However, this does not mean that you should treat them as nuclear bunkers. If you expect a harsh storm heading your yurt’s way, you can consider adding reinforcements or packing up your yurt and reinstalling it later. 

Remember, a packed away yurt is much less prone to damage from the weather.

Preparing Your Yurt for a Storm

If you have a prediction about a storm coming your yurt’s way, there are certain steps you can take to make your yurt more durable.

Start by making sure that your yurt is assembled correctly. Whether you choose to do the assembly yourself or hire a contractor to assemble your yurt, ensure that the instructions in the manual are correctly followed.

Several add-on kits are available nowadays to prepare your yurt for harsh conditions. 

For instance, when preparing for wind and snow, you will require additional wood supports, a cable clocking system, and installation hardware to ensure maximum durability during these conditions.

You can use tie-down cables to secure the compression ring to the floor, add a steel column in the center and attach it to the compression ring in the dome to provide additional support for the weight of snow that will fall on the yurt’s roof.

Whatever the case, it is best to use your common sense to judge the storm’s severity. You cannot make a yurt invincible. Consider packing up your yurt when the weather is bad and reinstalling it when it gets better. 

This will ensure that you still possess the yurt after the storm is over.

Lightning Strikes

Concrete structures are often designed to dissipate lightning strikes toward the ground. However, the structure of yurts is quite different.

As discussed above, yurts mainly comprise wood and synthetic fabric. A lightning strike has enough power to turn your cozy little abode into a vast fireball.

Fortunately, very few cases of yurt lightning strikes have been reported across the globe, and even they did not do any significant damage except take out the insulation or a small part of the wall.

However, there is no harm in considering investing in a lightning rod. 

These rods attract lightning and will direct it away from your lovely yurt, giving you peace of mind during a lightning storm. It is best to consult with someone specializing in lightning rods to know which rod will work best for your yurt and where you should place it.

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