In 1991, we moved into our first home — after renting apartments and townhouses for six years — in Boca Raton, Florida. We leased it, with an option to buy, for a year. Finally, in August 1992 we were home owners!
A couple of weeks later, Hurricane Andrew was on a direct path toward our new home.
Coming from Utah, hurricanes were completely new to us. We had no idea what to do or how to prepare. We already had a bit of food storage in place, but not much else in our favor. Sam went to the store, only to find that once a hurricane gets “real” to the residents, the stores shelves empty out of anything remotely useful. Flashlights, batteries, and canned goods are gone in an instant. By the time he got there, the only thing left was Spam and Chunky Soup. Which he preceded to buy by the truckload. Just in…heh, heh…case.
Another thing that was in incredibly short supply was plywood. Those of us who either didn’t know about hurricane shutters, hadn’t bothered to get the, and/or couldn’t afford them, were left to try to protect their house from window blowout with boards nailed over the windows. We were among this group scrambling for plywood.
Finally we scraped up enough scraps to cover most of the windows that faced east and the brunt of the oncoming storm. Really, though, we were lucky that the storm turned course in the middle of the night and hit Homestead instead of Boca. We only lost the mailbox, the light on our lamppost, and a couple of hibiscus bushes. That “luck” didn’t bode so well for poor homestead.
When we built our new home in 1997, we looked into installing roll-up shutters, as that was the most innovative product we could find at the time. Now even more products are available. One great innovation is hurricane windows. These high grade impact hurricane windows not only protect against tropical storms and hurricanes, but even against home invasion. And the are Energy Star rated, too.
If you live in a hurricane-prone area, find out about available window protection before a storm is imminent. You don’t want to be at the mercy of Home Depot’s lumber supply!