A tropical wave located in the southeast Caribbean on Thursday has a high chance of becoming a hurricane in the coming days, according to the National Weather Service Miami. In the next week, several long-term weather forecast models show the system turning north, passing over Cuba, and heading toward the Gulf of Mexico, and possibly Florida.
FEMA mitigation experts encourage all who live in areas prone to high winds and flooding to make some fairly simple changes to their homes to reduce damage from future severe storms.
“It is safer, cheaper, and ultimately much easier to limit future destruction than to repair it afterward,” said FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer Myra M. Shird. “And, the rebuilding phase of a disaster is the ideal time to consider ways to strengthen your home to protect people and property.”
Some techniques require licensed building professionals to design and install. Others can be implemented by do-it-yourself methods and don’t require permits. Before undertaking improvements, homeowners are advised to check with their local building officials about their plans.
Hurricane and storm high winds are looking for cracks to penetrate a home, because once high winds get in even through what may seem to be small openings, they can do tremendous damage.
Here are tips from FEMA experts on methods to limit high wind’s ability to trespass into a home.
- Strengthen Entry Doors and Windows – Install storm shutters over all exposed windows and glass surfaces. If replacing an entry door, use an approved, impact-tested door and install a dead bolt lock long enough to penetrate the 2X4 framing of the door. Also ensure the strike plate is installed with screws long enough to penetrate the door frame.
- Fortify garage doors – Once wind gets through a garage door it can do tremendous damage to the whole house. A garage door can be reinforced by adding braces across the back of the door and by strengthening the glider wheel tracks. Modifications should usually be made by a garage door expert. Consider purchasing a garage door built to withstand high winds. These doors can fail under wind pressure. Garage doors can be reinforced with girts and by strengthening the wheel tracks. Double-entry doors can be reinforced with a heavy-duty deadbolt, adding slide bolts on one of the doors, and using longer hinge attachments on the door and frame.
- Brace Gable End Walls – Anchor and brace the bottom of the gable end’s triangular wall to the ceiling joists or ceiling framing. Strengthen the gable end wall studs and brace the top of the gable end wall by tying it to the rafters or tops of the trusses.
- Keep Outdoor Gear from Becoming Windborne Missiles – Securely anchor all storage sheds and other outbuildings, either to a permanent foundation or with straps and ground anchors. Bolt outdoor furniture and barbecue grills to decks or patios, attach them to ground anchors with cables or chains. Secure trash cans with cables or chains attached to ground anchors or to wood posts firmly embedded in the ground.
- Trees and Landscaping Tips – It is estimated that three-quarters of the damage done by trees in high winds could be avoided if trees had been properly cared for starting with planting. Plant trees at the correct depth by making sure the roots are at the soil surface. Trees planted too deep could snap off at the stem-girdled point during forceful winds. Avoid wounding trees by banging them with a lawn mower or cutting them with a weed trimmer. Wounds lead to decay, a condition that leads to storm-damaged trees. Prune trees to correct defects such as multiple leaders and weak branch attachments.
The garage door industry strongly recommends that any determination concerning the need to reinforce or replace a garage door be based on an inspection by a trained door systems technician or a qualified professional engineer. Adding weight to a garage door for reinforcement may require an adjustment to or replacement of the door’s counterbalance system.
Only trained garage door systems technicians, such as our Omega Garage Doors team, should perform the adjustments or replacement. Contact us for an evaluation.