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Hurrican Prep -- Last Minute


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#1 Carey

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 02:42 PM

...and you should know that they cut the power very late -- the wind will be howling, rain pouring but they won't cut it until they must. They don't do it any early than they have to, in other words.

Baring that in mind and also bearing in mind that the wind may start to really pick up on you there, here is the start of a list of things to do just before a storm.

1. If you are using old fashioned plywood protectors, get 'em up good and early before the window gets going. Ditto if you have to stand on a ladder to close your hurricane shutters.

2. Move inside anything that could blow: potted plants, furniture, you name it.

3. Tie down roof top stuff like satellite dishes and water tanks. Mike has a good idea that worked which he mentioned in another thread. Please repeat here, Mike?

What else?
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#2 CZMDM

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 07:05 PM

Per your request Carey:

We have twin a/c units on the roof of our villa. When Wilma was approaching she was really rocking (160+ mph) so I took 4 weight belts and cut them each in two pieces. I used four bolts per end to bolt the belts to the roof. Then I threaded the other end of the belts through the a/c fan vents, put on the belt clasps and cinched them as tight as I could, then wired the clasps so they would not open. After the storm there were a/c units all over the streets, but ours were intact and fired right up when the power came back on. We have a crew of guys who help my wife do all types of repairs both here and for hire to condo owners and they could not believe the a/c units were still on the roof. What with tranformers blown many feet from their posts, boats in the streets, cars upside down, etc., there is no doubt in my mind that the bands held the a/c to the roof.

If you have vacant lots with debris like wood planks or tree branches, remember that anything that can become airborne is a real hazard and you should get with the city to have these area's cleaned up prior to any storms. I have actually seen idiots trim trees and then put the limbs in the street prior to the arrival of a hurricane. Stuff like this, during a hurricane, becomes shrapnel and could easily kill anyone caught outside and can cause severe damage to even concrete walls. Why would someone be outside during a hurricane? After prolonged stress, such as suffered in the seemingly endless Wilma, anything can give and it is not unusual to have to do repair or re-enforce shutters, closures, etc.. You may be required to do some heavy work to maintain your protection and I do not advise getting drunk until after the danger has passed.

Heavy plywood shutters provide excellent protection as long as they are cut and anchored correctly. Remember that in a strong storm, especially in the upper levels of a house or condo the security rests on the weakest link in window and door protection. If one window blows out in an upper lever, in most cases, all of the remaining windows will explode outward from the tremendous pressure.

Even with protection the pressure from a storm can break windows. Do not walk around barefoot, until you are sure that everything is clean and safe.

As Carey pointed out the city will keep the power on as long as possible. Sometimes it is a good idea to turn your power off prior to the city cutting it. During a storm there can be tremendous power fluctuations and these can destroy everything from the computer components of an oven to a television. Think of your pets. I had a couple of friends who lost their dogs because water had entered the house, went over the electrical sockets and the dogs got zapped (could happen to a person too). So if you are getting a lot of water in your house or even if it is just a severe storm you might want to turn off the power. Make sure that you have campsite type lighting. It is spooky sitting in a blacked out room listening to the wind howl at 130mph, while tree branches and other debris pound against your house like a drum.

There's a thousand other things to do to help stay safe. Unfortunately sometimes we don't think to do them until the wind is howling and it is too late.
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#3 guitarist

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 09:45 PM

mike someone told us to leave a window slightly open, thats a little worrying , whats the view on this
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#4 CZMDM

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 10:02 PM

I have heard that too, and I have opened both doors and windows during a storm, but they were facing away from the storm and the were on the first level. I would not want to try and open anything that was facing the storm full on, especially anything that was above your exterior privacy wall. After Wilma I saw many upper units, especially condos and the places at the country club where one window blew in and the rest blew out taking a lot of furniture with it. In my experience everything at ground level as long as there is a security wall is fairly secure.

As far as opening the windows.....oddly enough even with high wind and the rain, because of the friction the storms cause it seems to get warmer the more intense the storm is.
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#5 nauticab

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 07:31 AM

dont think that if you have a concrete tinaco that it is fine. roxanne (barely cat 3 when hit) threw off my suegro's CONCRETE tinaco lid over 10 feet away. remove the lid and tie the tinaco down. with all types, plastic and concrete, fill your tinaco all the way, make sure the pipes are all secure, and TIE IT DOWN. cause if the pipes break, your water goes, and the tinaco doesn't have the water weight anymore to keep it steady. we just built our new base for the tinaco. the base is surrounded by 4 columns that have reebar built in from the base up, forming a loop at the top and returning to the base. when a storm comes, we just pass the cable thru the loops and it is very very firm.

if you use plywood, make sure it is painted with oil paint on all sides to prevent warping and expansion.
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#6 Cozumel Wireless

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 08:39 PM

Many people still do not believe what i'm going to tell you but it works....

One of my oldest uncles (he has passed now) started securing his windows not with plywood but with blankets.

The kind of thick cotton/poliester blankets that you get for 4 bucks a piece...

If you already have protection on your windows (the rebar/metal kind we all call protectores)just go ahead and sew the blankets to it... kind'a like when you are putting plywood. Use nylon tread... the kind that is so pupular in our colorful hammocks...

The theory behind this is the following (I might me wrong but it worked for him and has worked for most of my relatives and me over the years) and when they came out with the "armor screen" i believed even more
http://video.google....35011845064325#

The blanket is not attached to the wall itself but to the protection... so your house will be able to "breath" and there will be no pressure differential from the outside which is one of the many things that can cause a window to blow out...

Once the blanket gets wet it also prevents water from getting in the house.

As it is streched over the protection it also provider a VERY sturdy and bouncy barrier for debry and sharpnel.

And since your windows are not shut with plywood you also have a better lighted house on the hours before and after when the you shut the power or is gone...

Is just another alternative to plywood....

Saludos,

Nemecio
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#7 Carey

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 08:45 AM

Nemecio, that is absolutely fascinating about the blankets. For people who don't have protectores or plywood ready to go up, how exactly would they use blankets? How are they secured to the window? And I think they would have to be put on outside, correct? If they were attached inside I would think the blankets would become saturated with water and that would pour down on the interior floors.

More details would be appreciated. I believe you and only wish I knew about this earlier. Maybe I will try it on my bathroom window next storm and see how it works.

I had to change a lot of things in the design of our house after Wilma. We have a three story tower house. And I put a LOT of windows in the top story for light and the view. I had wooden shutters and glass mariposa behind that. But the shutters were badly made and there were so many windows that there was a terrible leak problem up there. Also the sills of the windows didn't have enough of a pitch/angle on them so water came in instead of flowing down the outside wall.

Now we have cemented up more than half of the upstairs windows or put in glass blockes instead. And the windows we have remaining, we have replaced with much stronger, better made wooden shutters which open inside the house so can be shut at the last minute. We also corrected the pitch of the sills on the remaining openings.
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#8 Cozumel Wireless

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 12:19 AM

Hola Carey!

You got me there....

As you know most of the houses have protectores and since they are held up against the wall at the houses that makes for a very sturdy base for the blankets. You are right that if you put it on the inside they will drip in and flood...

They go on the outside... I think they would only work over the protectores as that gives it the stregth to repel debry and sharpnel... a blanket my not me as strong as the storm shield.

I will probably be looking for the guy that sells them wholesale and buy a 25 pack from him... i think he has a bodega on 35 between 12 and 14...

Saludos....
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#9 Carey

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 07:37 AM

mike someone told us to leave a window slightly open, thats a little worrying , whats the view on this


Here's what that guy from the old show "This Old House" has to say about this issue:

"Myth! Not only is this wrong -- it's dangerous.

Opening a window brings in high-pressure air, which then must escape.

That's usually out other windows or doors, or through the ceiling or roof.

Cracking the windows could even cause a house to explode. A better defense is covering openings with reinforced plywood, so air flows over (not into) the house.

-- This Old House, July/Aug 2008"

From the website weather.thefuntimesguide.com/.../open_windows_during_tornado.php

And another site, http://www.snopes.co.../hurricane.asp. agrees completely, says shut everything down as tightly as possible, that leaving windows open will BUILD pressure and could blow off your roof (although hardly a poured concrete roof like we have here.)
Goes on to say that for while scientists speculated that opening windows was a good idea in tornados because they saw some homes that had sort of, um, exploded, when a tornado ploughed through them. But it was later ascertained that they exploded because a window was left open or broke so that air could gush in.
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#10 nauticab

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 03:49 PM

i always heard the rule is to open TWO windows, one to let some air in and the other open (as a cross breeze) to let the air escape. if the old timers here and everyone else i have ever talked to who have survived more hurricanes than you can imagine, without USING any fancy protectors and shields, do this, then you are damn straight i will continue with the same theory.

Our closed shut windows during wilma, which did not have protectors, (weird position of window and under a covered porch), started to rattle. we opened them ever so slightly and the rattling stopped. we had another window inthe back slightly opened too.

i know, all the research says not to do it. i googled it too and carey's post is right on. but cement homes have little likelihood of having the roof blown off. i can understand it for wood frame houses though. i will stick with 2 slightly opened windows.
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#11 Carey

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 04:37 PM

I think you might blow your other windows out if they're glass and not covered. If your house is like every one I've ever seen on the island -- including mine -- the windows and doors leak water and air anyway even when they're closed. They are hardly hermetically sealed.
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#12 Cozumel Wireless

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 12:53 AM

I have always heard about having a door or window, DOWNWIND, open so the house can equalize pressure with the outside, presisely to avoid windows or glass door from breaking. Personaly I have actually opened a downwind door and sat and watched as the hurricane passed by... when the wind changed direction then shut that door and sealed it with plywood and opened the oposite door....


Been myself thru a few hurricanes and have not had a single door or window blow on me... maybe i'm just lucky...

Of course i would not dear compare the strenght, power and speed of a hurricane with that of a tornado with its sudden unannounced show and 400 km/h winds!!!
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#13 Carey

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 08:30 AM

I have always heard about having a door or window, DOWNWIND, open so the house can equalize pressure with the outside, presisely to avoid windows or glass door from breaking. Personaly I have actually opened a downwind door and sat and watched as the hurricane passed by... when the wind changed direction then shut that door and sealed it with plywood and opened the oposite door....


That's something to think about, Nemicio. But the problem is sometimes you are hiding out in a space where you can't tell all that clearly when the wind shift directions. To give you an example of AJ and me during Wilma, we had all interior protectores. Our two exterior wooden doors were badly made (and since replaced. We were afraid the frame might rip out as it wasn't all that well secured when we looked closely (years after the placement, of course, when we weren't newbie idiotos). So we compensated for this by locking ourselves in via large heavy sheets of plywood screwed on from the inside. Big deal to take these off.

Our bathroom is just three tall "arrow slit" style windows about 8" wide and 24" tall and we screwed plywood onto these from the inside. So we were fine, wind wise except for the little incident with the window ac shoving half way into the room at one point but we couldn't look out to check what was going on. Therefore you could KIND of tell the direction of the wind but you might get it off just a litle bit, take off a plywood protectore and have the wind and rain knock you down. Ja Ja.

Part of my prepreps for this year is to have a tiny window cut in one of the plywood protectores for the bathroom windows -- on a swinging shutter so it can be opened and closed easily. That way we can peek out.

I think a lot of people pull their custom made protectores over all their windows from the outside so it's completely dark and quiet inside and difficult to tell exactly how and when the wind is shifting.
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#14 Cozumel Wireless

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 12:15 AM

HAHAHA!!!

This is one of the times when having a small house is a big plus! Having only a few windows to seal, 3 doors (one front and 2 back)is fairly easy to protect them.

I would have to admit that when wilma hit I was just back to the island after a couple of years being gone and a good friend let me stay at his across the street ocean front hotel (he actually gave me the keys to the whole thing as most everyone was gone!!) and we stayed in a little double room for the whole storm! I could not even open the wooden window shutter to look out.

I really don't know how well my blanket theory would have held up with something this big!

So, I would have to correct and say i have done that act on a cat 3 hurricane!

Now there is a new storm to keep track of... lets hope it goes away!!!

http://www.stormpulse.com

Saludos,

Nemecio
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#15 Jim912

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 06:54 PM

All fueled up. Yesterday during a few lulls in the rain I managed to make three trips to the gas station and now have an additional 40 gallons of gas stored and ready just in case. I gave it all a double doses of Stabil and the label says it should last two years. Also picked up an extra five gallons of diesel for the car.

I'm going to test fire the generator tomorrow just to make sure everything is good before I head north on Thursday. It will just make me a little more comfortable knowing everything is working with Donna here and guests arriving soon.
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#16 CZMDM

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 07:34 PM

If you ever have the misfortune of living through a Catagory 5 Hurricane.....as you lay in the darkness of your closet, with your fingers in your ears, snuggling with your mate and your pets try and take some comfort in the fact that be they rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, everyone else is hiding in their closets just like you.
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#17 Nelda H

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 08:52 PM

Is Stabil available on the island?
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#18 Jim912

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 09:08 PM

I've always either brought mine down in checked bags or on road trips.

If you would like some let me know. I'm coming down Sept 11 for a week and will be glad to put a couple of bottles in my bag.
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#19 Nelda H

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 09:25 PM

Jim,

Thank you for your kindness. As a newbie generator owner, I need all the help I can get.

Nelda Harris 857 2694

Gracias!
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#20 Coz2wonder

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 12:38 PM

Jim are you driving down?

You blow my mind with your road trips. I know you said you are used to driving, but you really DRIVE when you hit the road.
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