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A question about hurricane panels (for those who've been through this before...)

A question about hurricane panels (for those who've been through this before...)

Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 04:32 AM
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A question about hurricane panels (for those who've been through this before...)

Hi all

I have a house down near Hilton Head. I understand Hannah the Hurricane is going to visit starting Friday (just my luck, I was supposed to fly down this weekend).

I have hurricane panels for my house. What category storm is necessary for the panels - if Hannah never goes beyond a Cat 1, are the odds decent that I won't head down next wkd to a soggy house? I could find someone today to put them on, but I don't want to bother anyone if it's probably not necessary.

If you've been through this drill before - how powerful does the storm need to be in order for you to be certain to put your panels up on your windows? I know they are already calling for evacuations of Beaufort County starting tomorrow.

Sorry for a frivolous post, I know this is nothing compared to what others have had to deal with.
flygirl is offline  
Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 04:46 AM
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My south-Florida living brother unfortunately become informed about this in past years.

I do not think Hurricane category is the total determinent in this - which does not really help you from afar. Wind direction is important. And flying debris from a neighbor could break a window and create a mess even in a mere tropical storm. Microbursts, or, God forbid, a tornado spun off by the storm can be a problem, even if storm does not directly hit.

If it were me, I would try to get someone to put them up. My brother has boarded and unboarded his windows (about 1/2 mile inland) so many times without need that each time he is tempted to skip it - but the one time he does that will be the guarantee that someones trash can hurls itself thru his window.

Some people in south Florida routinely board up windows when they leave for any length of time during hurricane season - although I know that is a big pain.

Good luck.

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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 05:26 AM
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You're asking a very specific question for which there is no specific answer. You don't need a full fledged hurricane to have a gust throw a palm frond or coconut or lawn chair through a slider and end up with a flooded house. And although various windows and sliders are rated for different wind velocities, that really doesn't mean much -- and we have no idea how yours are rated.

Personally, I wouldn't have hurricane panels unless I was going to put them up at least for every category 1 storm or higher that came along -- probably for any tropical storm headed directly my way as well.

This is sort of like saying, I don't drive a lot so I hate to get car insurance. What occasions should I buy car insurance for?
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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 05:41 AM
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I live in South Florida.

A hurricane is a hurricane.

While 75 mile per hour may not cause much damaga on its own, flying debris can.

It's a matter of luck exactly where it will hit and what damage you will incur if the shutters aren't up.

Hurrican Wilma passed thru here a couple of years ago. It sounded like a train.

A heavy tree branch broke off and just missed lebelling my pool screen. The actual screening was totally shredded and several very heavt barrel roof tile crashed onto the pool deck.

Did anything hit the shutters? I don't really know.

If you are only there part-time and it's not during hurricane season, you should hire somebody to put them up.

A cat 1 is sustained wind. What about gusts.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 06:46 AM
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I wonder how your insurance company would respond if you made a claim and they discovered you didn't use the panels. Did you get a discount on your premiums for having them?

DH hates putting the plywood up, but I won't take the chance as our property is wooded. If Hanna wanders closer to the Florida coast, you know what the topic of discussion is going to be at our house tonight!
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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 07:00 AM
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Rascat, that was my first thought this morning.

I called my HOA - the person I spoke to, and five of her own neighbors, aren't going to bother unless it goes to Cat 2. She gave me a number of a guy who will put them up for me - I'm going to call him and ask him if he has time - he does this for a living so he should know the drill. My neighbor and a friend have a house key and can get to them for me if need be.

My friend isn't going to bother with the panels either and they have HUGE trees. She may change her mind tomorrow though! She said the weather is utterly, utterly perfect right now.

I know that even here in VA we've had 50-plus winds at times and I've never had a problem - but those weren't with heavy rains too.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 07:52 AM
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Computer models have shifted even further north now and if that trend continues, Hanna looks to be more a NC storm than SC...of course past performance is no guarantee of future results!
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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 08:00 AM
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Thanks OO!

I spoke to my friend again - her boyfriend is standing ready to put them up for me if it is needed. She doesn't expect that it will be needed though. They are pretty blase about this, having lived down there for years.

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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 08:23 AM
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flygirl, I've put up and taken down our shutters so often in the past few years, that I can do the whole house in 30 minutes now!

As others have said, the panels are there to stop stuff flying through your windows. We don't really look at the category so much when deciding whether to put them up. We're more concerned with where the winds may be. We watch the track carefully (look at the wind field map on Weather Underground) to see how close strong winds may come to us.

Personally, I'm on the better safe than sorry side. That's based on a friend in Sarasota who was sure that Charlie was going to Tampa. She didn't put up her panels, then Charlie came a lot closer to her, a branch came through her kitchen window and she spent the next few weeks cleaning all the dirt and debris was blown into her kitchen through that window.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 09:24 AM
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As a Florida resident and a hurricane survivor, I think that you should put your shutters up no matter what the anticipated strength of the storm may be. Meteorologists are getting pretty good at forecasting the path of a storm, but they're hopeless about forecasting the strength of the storm. In addition, even minimal hurricanes (as if there could be such a thing) carry embedded tornadoes as an extra little surprise. All it takes to shatter your window (and thereby threaten the continued existence of your entire roof) is for one of your neighbors to forget to put away a flower pot, and the "minimal" storm to pick up said flower pot and send it into your kitchen. Put your shutters up, or pay someone else to do it, and stay safe.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 09:38 AM
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Put up the shutters and just leave them up until you visit again so you don't have to keep worrying about this. They do no good whatsoever sitting in a garage or in storage. There is no reason to be blase with such an investment.

You'd really need a crystal ball to answer the question with any real certainty. The highest hurricane winds are contained around the center of the storm which is "relatively" small area in the big picture, but if you get the eye, you're screwed. So, the category really should not be a deciding factor. You could be 45 miles from the eye of a Cat 5 and it might not be so bad, but if you get the eye of a Cat 1, could very well be even worse.

Install the shutters.

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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 11:36 AM
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As Weindell said, you need to be concerned about your roof blowing off if a window or door is compromised. The increase in pressure in the dwelling due to the broken window is what can cause the roof to blow off. As well as the damage due to water blowing in.
If I were you, I'd review the Saffir-Simpson scale to help you with your decision.
You can find it on the National Hurricane Center's website here:
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