After living the Florida resident life for a year, we experienced our first hurricane as Floridians. Since we had moved last year from West Virginia, we had no experience with hurricane weather aside from what we had seen on television and read online. We felt very ready. We had plenty of food, water, battery lighting, candles, and things we needed to survive without water or power. You can do everything to prepare yourself, but at the end of the day, there are always lessons to be learned through experience. Hurricane Ian didn’t scare us away from living in Florida, but it certainly taught us a lesson on what to expect and how to be ready. Here are some of those lessons we learned.
Protect Your Windows
Heading into the storm we decided like most in our neighborhood that boarding our windows was an unnecessary step in our hurricane preparations. We have a new build home with windows rated to 120mph winds. However, during the harsh winds and beating rain, we realized that we had made a mistake. While we didn’t end up with any broken windows, we didn’t like how much of a beating one particular window was getting. We knew then that if that window were to break, it would be catastrophic to our home, letting in wind and rain for the duration of the storm.
In the future, we will board our windows. We did have a neighbor who used hurricane clips to board theirs and they worked great for him. You can find hurricane clips online at many places- Lowes, Amazon, Home Depot, etc. It seems that cutting some plywood and using some $20ish dollar clips is a small price to pay for the peace of mind it will bring during the storm.
Protect Your Fence
In our neighborhood, the most amount of destruction was to fencing. Before the hurricane, I removed the caps from our privacy fence which helped keep them from blowing away. But the mistake I made, as did many others in our neighborhood was keeping our gate still attached. Instead, I put a padlock on it to prevent it from swinging open. The result was a gate ripped from its hinges and unsalvagable. Walking through the neighborhood, we noticed many other gates destroyed.
The simple solution would have been to remove the gate ahead of the storm and store it in the garage. This would have saved us a few hundred dollars in gate replacement. The rest of our fencing was okay, but our neighbors did lose some fencing. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to prepare your fence outside of removing the gate and taking the caps off, but those two simple preparations can help a lot.
Be Prepared to Keep Yourself Occupied
Throughout the beginning parts of the storm, we had power and found comfort in watching episodes of The Big Bang Theory. This helped drown out the sound of the storm and keep us occupied. After our power went out, we were careful with our device usage. The downside of this was that we had nothing left to do but sit and listen to the extreme wind and rain beating on our home. We still had cell service and never lost it. In the future, we will ensure we have an iPad or some tablet with cellular capabilities or pre-download some shows or movies so we could have continued watching TV. Keeping yourself occupied with something, especially something that drowns out the noise can do your mind a world of good.
Research Updated Flood Maps
Unfortunately, there were communities in Orlando hit with flooding unexpectedly. When buying a home, it is important to assess your flooding risk. FEMA’s website offers flood maps that can be searched by address. You can find them Here: Flood Maps.
We luckily do not live in a flood zone and did not experience issues with flood waters. However, it is definitely something you want always be checking as flood maps can change as new developments pop up and the landscape of Florida changes.
The benefit of living in Central Florida is we are mostly spared from the worst parts of the storm. Be prepared and ensure you don’t live within a flooding area. Be sure to always listen to local authorities and follow their guidelines. Heed evacuation and shelter-in-place orders. Most importantly, stay calm and be prepared. For more information on hurricane preparation, visit our Hurricane Tips and Tricks for Florida Residents.
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