How Do Storage Containers Hold Up in Extreme Weather?

Shipping containers are pretty sturdy, and their strength is rooted in their steel construction. Steel is one of the strongest metals out there and can handle almost anything it’s exposed to, but it does have its limits.

You trust these containers to keep your valuable possessions safe. You want to know that your company’s crane or important documents will be protected, even in a bad storm or in extreme heat. When weighing your options for on-site storage, the weather should come into play because most shipping container storage units are kept outside. That’s why we’ve put together this informational piece with everything you’ve ever wanted to know about shipping containers and extreme weather.

Can Shipping Containers Withstand Snow and Freezing Temperatures?


Let’s start with snow and freezing temperatures. Externally, snow and freezing temperatures don’t really have an immediate impact on the structural integrity of a shipping container, but that doesn’t mean they’re harmless. Snow is frozen water, and water is steel’s one natural enemy. Rust is the kryptonite of shipping containers. When a unit is exposed to (or submerged in) water for long periods of time, rust will start to develop, and your unit could go from stable to brittle pretty quickly.

When it comes to internal temperature, think of a shipping container as a big metal box. When metal is exposed to extreme cold, it absorbs that cold air and cools from the outside in. If you are using your shipping container storage unit to house temperature-sensitive items like wooden furniture or antiques, make sure you wrap and insulate them before leaving them in your outdoor unit. Another tip is to line the inside of your shipping container storage unit with blankets or insulating material to keep things warm and toasty inside of your container.

Can a Shipping Container Withstand a Wildfire?


As wildfires become more common, it’s normal to be concerned about your shipping container’s ability to withstand these natural disasters. Well, good news:shipping containers are highly fire-resistant. In fact, they are so fire-resistant that many fire departments use shipping containers in their training exercises and simulations. 

While your shipping container storage unit will likely come out of a fire unscathed, fire and extreme heat can raise the internal temperature. If you are going to be using your storage container during the summer months, or any season where your area is prone to wildfire breakouts, you’ll want to take steps to control the internal temperature of your unit. 

Some ways to go about this are:

  • Cover the roof of your unit with light-colored materials that will reflect the sun and help reduce the heat it absorbs.
  • Insulate the walls of your unit to keep heat out and internal temperatures cool.
  • Use fans inside your unit to keep air flowing and to keep internal temperatures down.
  • Wrap heat-sensitive items to protect them from any internal temperature fluctuations.

Can Shipping Containers Withstand Hurricanes and Flooding?


This answer is a bit more nuanced. Shipping containers are not waterproof, but they are highly water-resistant. This means that shipping containers can easily keep water from heavy rains away from your valuables, but when it comes to being submerged in water for long periods of time, there is a risk that your unit may start to allow small amounts of water inside. 

We recommend moving your unit or trying to seal your unit during periods of prolonged submersion in water.

Can Shipping Containers Withstand Tornadoes and Strong Winds?

Yes, most likely. 

An average steel shipping container weighs approximately 4,000 pounds. That’s a whole lot of steel. When it comes to extreme wind (like tornadoes and major hurricanes), there is, of course, a risk that your container will shift from its desired location, but even in the worst conditions, many containers stay put. In summary, you don’t really have to worry about wind when it comes to storing your belongings in a shipping container. These units are about as wind-proof as you can get.

Mobile Mini: Your Shipping Container Source

When it comes to shipping containers, you can’t beat Mobile Mini. We have a range of standard and extra-wide shipping container storage units that can meet all your storage demands, no matter how big or small. All of our units are constructed from corrugated steel. Outside of being weather-proof, our units also come standard with our tri-cam locking system. These locks can’t be drilled into, picked, or tampered with; they’re virtually theft-proof.

With Mobile Mini, stress-free delivery, pick-up, and even relocation are included in every order, and our award-winning customer service team is available 24/7 to answer questions and troubleshoot problems.

Extreme weather can be tough. Storage container rental shouldn’t be. Contact us today and see how easy storage can be.