However, when it comes to preparing for a severe storm, you’ll hear tips from just about anyone, including self-proclaimed hurricane experts. Although most of what they say can be helpful, others can be dangerous. We’re here to debunk the most common hurricane myths you shouldn’t fall for.
The Truth Behind Common Hurricane Myths
MYTH #1: “Hurricanes only affect the coastline.”
While the most punishing hurricane damage often occurs along the coast, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the only ones at risk. Those living farther inland can also feel the effects of a tropical storm, such as heavy rain, strong winds, and storm-surge flooding.
MYTH #2: “You shouldn’t take a Category 1 hurricane seriously.”
Many people mistakenly believe that a Category 1 hurricane isn’t more than just a summer thunderstorm that produces wind gusts upward of 60 mph. However, once a storm reaches hurricane level, its sustained wind speeds are 74 to 95 mph. Category 1 hurricanes can cause damage to trees and a solidly built home’s roof, shingles, vinyl siding, and gutters. Since a Category 1 storm can damage power lines and poles, power can be out for days.
It’s important to note that when the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale rates a tropical storm based on its maximum and sustained wind speed, it doesn’t consider other potential hazards, including rainfall flooding, storm surge, and tornadoes.
MYTH #3: “You shouldn’t evacuate until the weather gets bad.”
Evacuation orders are given early enough so that people can have enough time to get to a safe shelter before a hurricane hits. Waiting until the last minute to evacuate is dangerous because this can leave you without an escape route due to bad traffic clogging up roads. Since storm path forecasts can change rapidly, it’s best to gather the items you need, secure your property, and evacuate as soon as possible, even if the weather appears to be calm.
MYTH #4: “Cracking your windows open helps stabilize pressures.”
Since houses aren’t airtight, openings throughout yours let out built-up air pressure. For this reason, you won’t have to crack your windows open when you’re in the middle of a hurricane or a tornado. Otherwise, you’ll only let in the water, wind, and flying debris.
Additionally, opening your windows can cause them to break from the outside even before the inside pressure is enough to do damage on its own. It’s best to leave all windows closed and protect them with hurricane shutters.
MYTH #5: “Tape windows to prevent them from shattering.”
When a severe storm breaks windows, they usually shatter into tiny pieces that may not cause significant harm. While the thought of having little bits of flying glass sounds bad, taping windows causes the glass to break into larger and more dangerous pieces. The last thing you want is bigger shards flying around your home and causing severe injuries to your family. Installing hurricane panels and shutters is the best way to prevent windows from shattering.
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