Time for Floridians to Be Ready for Tropical Storms as Irene Approaches

It is time for residents of Florida to prepare their homes and properties for the possible arrival of tropical storms and hurricanes. Tropical storm Irene is threatening to become the first storm to reach hurricane strength this week as it is making its way along the southern coast of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The National Weather Service has said that Irene could hit the southern Florida coasts by as early as Thursday or Friday of this week as a hurricane.

Now is not the time to become complacent if you live in Florida just because there has been an absence of severe storms in recent years. The Florida Division of Emergency Management wishes to warn people in the state to not have a false sense of security during this year’s hurricane season. Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southern Florida in late August of 2005 as only a Category 1 storm but the damage it did to homes and properties was extensive.

The most common type of damage which can occur during a tropical storm or hurricane in Florida is debris breaking windows and water filling a property. Also, high winds can wreak havoc on a building, creating pressure inside which can cause the roof to rip off. A tropical storm can pack sustained winds of between 40 and 73 miles per hour while a Category 5 hurricane can bring winds in excess of 155 mile per hour with 18+ feet storm surges which inevitably lead to catastrophic damage to homes, businesses and properties.

When you live in Florida, and especially in the southern portion of the state, it is a part of life to protect your home from potential damage done by tropical storms and hurricanes. Homes can be devastated by high wind and waves and debris can easily break doors and windows. It is essential to do regular inspections on roofs. A technique called “hurricane blocking” can be done to new structures which entails putting an extra 2×4 under the truss which creates a pocket of air space. This prevents a vacuum from forming during occurrences of strong winds.

Impact-resistant windows can be installed on new homes. Owners of older homes can have their windows “wet-flashed” which is a process of putting a sealant on the windows to prevent water leaks. Impact-resistant doors can also be used on homes. Additionally, it is wise to see to it that doors have at least three hinges and a dead bolt lock that features a bolt which is at least two inches long. There are no other storms on earth as powerful as hurricanes so it is essential to prepare your Florida property before a storm strikes. It is also important to know your city’s community disaster plan and to create a family plan as well.

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