Safety First: Prepare Your Home for Hurricane Season

The Atlantic hurricane season is here, officially open for business from June 1 to November 30. And according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center, this season is expected to be near or above normal. Despite the sheer power of hurricanes, you don’t have to feel vulnerable during the season, or year-round. Arm yourself with some basic information and a solid plan before the possibility of a hurricane arises in your area.

Satellite Image of 2017 Hurricanes Katia, Maria and JoseHurricanes Katia, Irma and Jose. September 2017. Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens and Jesse Allen, using VIIRS day-night band data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership and Terra MODIS data from the Land Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE)

Hurricanes, sometimes referred to as tropical cyclones, are massive storm systems that form over the water and move toward land. Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and tornadoes. The strength of a hurricane is based upon its maximum sustained winds.

Tropical Depression: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 38 mph or less.

Tropical Storm: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph.

Hurricane: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher.

Major Hurricane: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 111 mph or higher, corresponding to a Category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

The aftermath of Hurricane Camille. Biloxi, Mississippi, August 17, 1969. Camille was one of only three Category 5 hurricanes to ever make landfall in the United States. Image credit: NOAA.

Know the difference between a hurricane “watch” and “warning.” According to the National Weather Service, a hurricane watch means that there’s no hurricane yet, but weather conditions could cause one. Experts will announce a hurricane watch 48 hours before they think dangerous winds will begin. A hurricane warning is more serious. It means a hurricane has already started or is just about to start. For a deep dive into more specific advisories, watches and warnings, or to learn more about hurricane season in general, check out the National Weather Service’s Hurricane Center.

Aerial image of New Orleans' Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area, causing levies to break and flood some of the city's poorest neighborhoods.Aerial image of New Orleans’ Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area, causing levies to break and flood some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Image credit: NOAA

Even if there’s no imminent risk of a hurricane, there are steps you can take now to ensure you, your family and your home stay safe. Visit Ready.gov for up-to-date information, checklists and downloadable resources, like this 12-page FEMA eBook, How to Prepare for a Hurricane.

Originally built in the mid 1800s, the New Canal Lighthouse in New Orleans was heavily damaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. As part of JELD-WEN’s Reliable Lighthouse Restoration Initiative, the lighthouse was outfitted with aluminum-clad Custom™ Wood windows made with superior rot-resistant AuraLast® Wood and ImpactGard™ glass.

Doors and windows are the most vulnerable area of a home during a hurricane, particularly the glass. Just one broken window can affect a home’s structural integrity. Windows and patio doors with ImpactGard® protection are designed to resist impacts so even if the glass cracks, the fragments will adhere to the interlayer, ensuring the shards remain within the frame. ImpactGard® protection also meets the nation’s toughest building codes. These codes specify that windows must withstand a nine-pound 2×4 traveling at 50 feet per second (34 miles per hour).

JELD-WEN put ImpactGard™ glass to the ultimate test as part of the Reliable Lighthouse Restoration Initiative. Since 2005, JELD-WEN has provided windows outfitted with AuraLast® Wood and energy-efficient or impact-rated glass to lighthouse restoration projects. The Custom™ Wood windows and custom-designed wood or fiberglass doors are designed to preserve each lighthouse’s historic aesthetic. The combination of AuraLast® Wood and ImpactGard™ glass can help ensure that windows in coastal settings will not only look good, but will also stand up to harsh climates. Now that’s what we call peace of mind year-round, not just hurricane season.