Tips to prepare your home before a hurricane strikes

Published On: Aug 06 2014 06:16:16 AM HST   Updated On: Aug 05 2014 07:56:33 AM HST

A hurricane's strength is measured by its winds. Those powerful gusts can put tremendous pressure on houses in a hurricane's path and inflict an incredible amount of damage.

Since Hurricane Iniki, Hawaii's building codes have been strengthened and require construction of new homes to be able to handle higher winds during a hurricane.

“Because a storm pushes the roof up, like an airplane wing and pushes the structure sideways we want the body to be a stiff as possible," said Gerald Peters of HPS Construction Services.

WATCH: How to be prepare your home for a hurricane

While new homes are better anchored, there are thousands of houses that are 50 years old or older.

It’s not just the age of a home, but also its construction. A single-walled structure can lack a second layer of support to help hold a house together.

"If the roof lifts, the house will go sideways and the windows will break out and you have a very bad situation," said Peters.

A roof simply anchored with nails would have some hold-down force.

"For your average house, it would be like the force of an SUV of weight on their roof," said Peters.

That sounds like a lot of weight, but the more powerful the winds, the more lift is generated.

In Hawaii, we frequently see some old and unanchored roofs start to come apart during high wind events that may not even reach hurricane speeds over 74 mph. But, there are ways to make sure homes are better anchored.

Hurricane clips can be used to reinforce walls and roofs. If properly installed, they don't just double or tripled the hold-down force. They can provide up to eight times the anchoring power.

"These little pieces of metal make a difference," said Peters.

The roof is just one vulnerable area of your home during a storm.

"Even if you have a late model house, the windows are going to be your whole ballgame for flying debris," said Peters.

That debris can be whipped around even by tropical storm force winds, turning broken branches and small objects into mini-missiles.

Some people prepare for a storm by boarding up windows and doors, but not everyone can.

"Everybody says tape your windows and the problem with tape is rain hits it and it peels right off, or if it didn't hit you and you use duct tape, it leaves a sticky goo on there that bakes when the sun hits it," said Peters.

Now there is something new on the home protection market. Storm tape doesn't unravel with the water, but can peel off after the storm without leaving residue.

There are also various stronger versions that come with fiber reinforcement to make the tape even stronger.

Taping windows won't stop them from breaking if they are hit with large enough pieces of debris, but it could keep those bits of broken glass together. That could cut down on the shards being sent into a home and also making clean-up after the storm easier.

Don't forget KITV is the only local news station with a free hurricane tracker app. You can monitor Iselle on your Apple or Android device.

Download our Hurricane Tracker for iPhone or Android.

Checklist: Be prepared for a hurricane

Click here for a checklist to be prepared for a hurricane.


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