Archive for the ‘Hurricane preparation’ Tag

Tropical Storm Hermine – Tallahassee Alert –

 

THIS IS A VERY “TIME-SENSITIVE” REPORT

After viewing the graphic below my concerns for the residents of Tallahassee have increased; of course it goes without saying that my concerns are for everyone who might have to deal with this storm – no matter where they might be located.  Mainly, there are three factors involved in my concern for the 7th most highly populated city in Florida and its capital city.  One is that there is a strong chance that Hermine will become a hurricane before reaching the Florida coast.

Another:  The minimum distance from Gulf of Mexico waters to Tallahassee is about 25 miles.  One might consider 25 miles to be an adequate “buffer” to provide friction and thus slow down the winds approaching the city.  I think that assumption would be a mistake.  Furthermore, when surface or near-surface winds leave the water for land the slight slowing that might occur would tend to cause more air to rise.  A similar rising is what causes lake effect snows in certain Great Lakes coastal or near-coastal downwind locations.  In the case of humid winds from Hermine possibly decelerating due to friction over the land when approaching Tallahassee, the net effect could very well be more vertical cloud development (due to a greater amount of rising air) than would have occurred otherwise.  This phenomenon can intensify thunderstorms, the gusts that spill out from them, and the chaos that can generate tornadoes.  The increase in rainfall amounts can be dramatic.  So – be careful what you wish for.  Flooding is typically a bigger issue than the wind velocities in these cases.

Here is the third cause for my concern:  The graphic below from the National Weather Service showing the “cone of uncertainty” (8 PM EST, 8-31-2016) causes me to consider that Tallahassee might very well be under the right-hand leading quadrant of the storm when it makes landfall.  The right-hand leading quadrants of tropical cyclonic systems are usually the quadrants with the highest wind velocities, greatest probability for tornadoes, heaviest rains, and in coastal areas the greatest storm surge height.  The fact that currently the whole storm is beginning to move faster can increase the danger of the right-hand leading quadrant.

I urge residents of the Tallahassee area to be alert during the approach, passage, and departure of what is now Tropical Storm Hermine.  Do not take it lightly just because it is on the low side of the tropical storm wind velocity range at this time (evening of 8-31-2016).  

CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW TO ENLARGE. 

2016-8-31 8pm EST

CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO ENLARGE. 

Sandy Alert – There Is No Shame In Evacuating!

What concerns me most is the number of people who will not address and act upon hurricane Sandy’s threat maturely. As a man who grew up in an environment where “being a man” meant being able to handle, support, protect, and defend – I can identify with the need to have it “together” in these types of situations. It was hard for me on the morning of 8-23-1992 to “order” my wife, two children, father-in-law, and mother-in-law into my van so that we could evacuate our two homes (separated by less than a mile) in Homestead, Florida to escape approaching hurricane Andrew. But, when we returned 3 days later we were thanking the Great Guy In the Sky that we were not there when the storm hit. It would have been a most traumatic experience and could have been deadly. Our house was a total loss and my in-laws’ house was severely damaged but not beyond repair. There are people today of all ages still suffering post traumatic stress syndrome over that hurricane of 20 years ago. Admittedly, the aftermath and rebuilding processes were extraordinarily difficult but we were together and healthy and I had very good insurance and did not lose my job. Thousands of people lost both their dwellings and their jobs! We had much for which to be grateful.

But, sometimes, in an attempt to handle, support, protect, and defend – people (men in particular, I think) tend to make macho decisions that they later regret – if they live to experience regret. One example is: Failing to evacuate dangerous areas that are subject to flooding, landslides, storm surges, etc. Believe me – there is no disgrace in fleeing in such circumstance. Sure, one wants to stay and protect his/her home and the “things” within it but such a mindset can backfire resulting in fatal consequences. Take my word for it, “things” can be replaced in time but once you lose your life of worse, that of a loved one – there is no going back or rebirth back into this dimension.

 Hurricane Sandy is a storm that has it all. Oh sure, it’s not a category 5 storm as was Andrew but it is a huge storm taking up an area more than the size of Texas one and one-half times! And – it has a strong pressure gradient. It has a very long fetch (distance of water over which the wind blows) which increases significantly the potential height of the storm surge.

 Just because the winds are within the category 1 range, remember that slight increases can cause exponential increases in the potential force. In fact, doubling the wind velocity quadruples the air’s potential force upon a surface that it strikes at right angles.  Early on in my teaching career it because quite apparent to me that most people assume that doubling the velocity simply doubles the force.  But that is far from true.  For example, an 80 mile per hour wind has FOUR TIMES the potential force of a 40 mile per hour wind. So DON’T think to yourself, “I know I can deal with a 40 mile per hour wind; in fact I and my dwelling can deal with one that is 80 miles per hour because that is just two times that of a “40.” YOU WOULD BE VERY, VERY WRONG! If you are interested in more on this subject, including an equation – go here:

https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/tag/wind-velocity-relative-to-force/

 A great deal of precipitation over land is expected with Sandy – so much that many of the drainage systems, both natural and man-made, will not be able to handle it. Trees will be less stable because of saturation of the soil and rock into which their roots are anchored. Combined with the wind force, many will come down. Unhealthy trees will snap. Mother Nature WILL do a great amount of pruning. Electricity will be cut off due to line damage from falling debris and flooding. Water pressure may drop or reduce to zero. Even modern gravity-feed systems require boosting due to the effects of friction and that usually requires electricity. If you have an electric pump with a well and no emergency generator, you could be out of luck. If your toilet is relatively modern you will still need about 1.6 gallons per flush. “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down” might become your rule of thumb even if you have a lot of water stored (as in a tub that doesn’t slowly leak at the drain).

 Since much moisture will be drawn in by the storm from off the Atlantic and much cold air will be drawn down from the north, there is a very strong chance for SNOW with this storm.

 The bottom line, in my opinion is – If you are in the path of Sandy and:

  1. in a storm surge zone – evacuate.
  2. in a wooded area with big trees so close to your home that upon falling they are likely to do structural damage – evacuate.
  3. upon a hillside or mountainside where your area or an area above or below you has been stripped of most vegetation – evacuate.  Slides are a real danger in these cases.
  4. in a region that can easily flood  – evacuate.
  5. in a neighborhood where there is a lot of loose matter that could easily become damaging airborne projectiles – evacuate.
  6. in a mobile home or R.V. – evacuate.
  7. in a dwelling where, when you look out a front window you are looking down a street that is at right angles to your street – evacuate. The Venturi Effect can channel much higher winds and debris right into your dwelling!
  8. in any kind of a topographic restriction such as a narrow valley between two hills or mountains – evacuate for the same reason as in item 7.
  9. NOT prepared for many days without water service and/or electricity – evacuate.
  1. in an evacuation zone – evacuate!
  2. one who feels as though fleeing is a cowardly act – engage in a very quick but thorough attitude adjustment and ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION.

BUT DON’T EVACUATE IF THE STORM IS UPON YOU UNLESS YOU FEEL THAT THE MOVE IS ACTUALLY SAFER THAN STAYING.

Atlantic Hurricane Season – Please Be Alert – 8-19-2010

We are entering the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season.  If you have not been influence by tropical activity thus far this year you might be under the impression that it’s an inactive season.  That would not be true.  Statistically, it has been about average to date. Though we cannot “plan the future” I feel strongly that we should plan “FOR” certain eventualities in the future.  I urge you to be prepared and alert in the event that a tropical system comes your way.

The following statement in “blue” was taken Verbatim Thursday morning (8-19-2010) from the Dr. Jeff Masters web-log found at http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/.

“The GFS, NOGAPS, and ECMWF models continue to predict that a tropical storm will form between Africa and the Lesser Antilles Islands sometime in the period 3 – 6 days from now. There is an area of disturbed weather south of the Cape Verdes Islands, but there is no obvious organization to the cloud pattern. Wind shear is a hefty 20 – 30 knots in the region, and the disturbance is a 1 – 2 day journey away from reaching a lower shear area where development can occur. Preliminary indications are that if a storm did develop in this region, it would track west-northwest and pass well to the northeast of the Lesser Antilles Islands 7 – 8 days from now. However, 7-day forecasts of a storm that hasn’t even formed yet are not to be trusted.”

I have taken the liberty of trimming the latest full disc color satellite image down to a manageable size where you can still easily find Florida and thus look across the Atlantic to see the area of disturbed weather off Africa to which Dr. Masters refers. Two independent left clicks on this image will enlarge it fully. This image was taken from a distance over three earth diameters away from the surface yet there is considerable detail.  I hope you enjoy it.


HURRICANE SEASON 2010 IS HERE!

MOST IMAGES IN THIS WEBLOG REACH FULL ENLARGEMENT

AFTER TWO LEFT CLICKS OF THE MOUSE/MOUSEPAD

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Today, June 1, 2010, marks the official beginning of the northern hemisphere’s Atlantic Hurricane Season. The season is 6 months long, ending at the end of November 30. However, hurricanes can occur outside that officially designated season.

I wish to extend my deepest sympathy to family and friends of the 11 workers who died in the April 20 oil drilling rig explosion and hope for a quick recovery for those 17 who were injured.  Sadly, before this is “over” there are likely to be even more casualties.

You have probably been hearing and reading a lot lately about the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current due to the resultant, catastrophic, ongoing crude oil discharge from the sea floor into the Gulf’s waters. The Loop has been described as a potential transporter of much of that oil around the Florida Keys and on up the East Coast of the United States (and even potentially further). The Loop is but a segment of the huge North Atlantic Gyre (sometimes called the Gulf-stream Gyre) and is an essential element in the process whereby heat energy is exchanged between the low latitudes and the higher latitudes. Without it, our climates would be far more severe on both ends of the thermal spectrum.

So – though I wish to emphasize that the Loop in-of-itself is not a bad thing, it has recently been portrayed that way because of its potential to spread the hazardous oil far beyond its source. Furthermore, when it comes to hurricanes, there have been clear examples of hurricane intensification while moving over the Loop. Recent examples are hurricanes Katrina and Rita, both in 2005. Katrina’s movement over the Loop is graphically illustrated above.

If you wish to read a bit more about hurricane intensification from warm water surfaces go to the following link from 2008 in which I am discussing hurricane Gustav.

https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/2008/08/31/gulf-temperatures-are-very-important-now/

I doubt it’s news to you that this season is predicted to be more active than usual. I won’t add to the myriad words on this subject already made available on-line within the last few days but here is a link to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration page (NOAA) if you want some detail:

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100527_hurricaneoutlook.html

It is my great hope that your life is not complicated or endangered by a hurricane or hurricane’s this year or any other year. If you do live in “hurricane territory” I beg you to address preparation now if you have not already. I hope that you have not “caught” the disorder that seems to be epidemic these days, “terminal uniqueness.” Please know – it doesn’t always happen to the “other guy.” Please don’t become a victim because of that misconception. It’s important to realize that if you do have storm problems – assistance is not likely to be quickly and/or efficiently available. You might have to fend for yourself for quite some time. It is not smart to expect “quick response teams” to rush to your aid. If a strong hurricane visits your area it is likely to be a devastating event if you are not prepared. I’ll tell you this: From my experience with hurricane Andrew (1992), it’s tough enough when you are prepared.

IDA FORECAST – 11-8-09

Some of the information on this site is published close to “real-time”  particularly as it applies to tropical weather.  But it is important to remember that the only “official” source of information is the National Hurricane Center. Decisions concerning life or death, property, and such should not be made based solely on the information found on this site or any other sites that are recommended here. unless they are official. Listen to your local authorities when conditions are life-threatening or there is possible loss of property.


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THE ENTIRE FIRST PARAGRAPH THAT FOLLOWS  IS A DIRECT QUOTE FROM DR. JEFF MASTERS (PICTURED BELOW) THAT WAS CUT AND PASTED FROM HIS WEATHER UNDERGROUND SITE; DR. MASTERS IS MY MOST RELIABLE AND DEPENDABLE SOURCE WHEN IT COMES TO TROPICAL WEATHER; HE IS A DEDICATED ‘WINNER:”  ONE REASON WHY I DEPEND SO HEAVILY UPON HIS WORK IS THAT HE IS NOT OPERATING UNDER THE CONSTRAINTS OF NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECASTER BUT HE BENEFITS FROM THEIR INTERPRETATIONS AS WELL AS FROM OTHER NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RESOURCES.  HE IS DEDICATED, “UP FRONT,” AND RESPONSIBLE.

bio_jeffm
Dr. Jeff Masters

The forecast for Ida


Posted: 10:21 AM EST on November 08, 2009


“The high wind shear of 20 – 25 knots currently affecting Ida is forecast to persist at that level until Monday night. Some slow intensification is still possible while Ida remains over the exceptionally warm water of the Loop Current in the Gulf of Mexico, through tonight (Figure 2). Late tonight, Ida will be crossing over waters of 26°C, which is barely enough to support a hurricane. With shear still expected to be at 20 -25 knots, I expect weakening to begin early Monday morning and accelerate on Monday afternoon. At that time, Ida will encounter 40 knots of wind shear associated with a cold front over the Gulf of Mexico, and begin transitioning to an extratropical storm. Exactly how strong Ida will be when it reaches the coast early Tuesday morning–and indeed if Ida even does reach the coast–is a forecast with high uncertainty. The computer models have a tough time forecasting the evolution of a tropical cyclone into an extratropical cyclone, and the models are all over the place on what will happen. Most of the models foresee a landfall near 1 am EST Tuesday between Mississippi and Pensacola, Florida, then a path northeastward over the Southeast U.S. However, Ida could come to halt before reaching the coast and turn west towards Tampa (the UKMET model’s forecast), or turn south back over the Gulf of Mexico (the NOGAPS model’s forecast). In any case, storm surge and heavy rain appear to be the main hazards from Ida. The GFDL model (Figure 3) is forecasting rain amounts of 4 – 8 inches for a large swath of the Gulf Coast, and there is a risk of tornadoes if the warm air from the core of Ida pushes ashore.”  END QUOTE

From my point of view, (this is Cloudman23 writing) everyone on the Gulf Coast  from Mississippi to Key West should have a “heads up” mindset while Ida is out there.  As Dr. Masters said, the computer models have a difficult time when the tropical to extratropical metamorphoses takes place.  Furthermore, the chance of tornadoes (mentioned by Dr. Masters) in association with warm, moist air from Ida and its inherent instability in such situations, this storm should not be taken lightly.

11-8-09 Ida 3pEST

ERIKA – KEEP A WATCHFUL EYE ON THE EAST COAST

z 9-3-09 Erika

Graphic courtesy of Jonathan Vigh, Colorado State.

LEFT CLICK GRAPHIC TO ENLARGE

and a second time to enlarge even further.

The models have a “ways to go” in order to reach what I consider a healthy agreement on Erika’s future path.  My “gut-level” feeling, for what it’s worth, is that even though the storm is likely to be disturbed a great deal by shear aloft, there is a strong chance that it could reorganize (come back to life) once that shear diminishes.  On the basis of some of the projections, I would not be surprised to see Erika sneeking up to near North Carolina around the 10th or 11th.  Of course I hope I’m wrong.  My wish, always, is that our tropical systems give us needed moisture without doing damage or causing stress and anxiety.  Perhaps that’s asking too much but as the old (1938) standard song says, “I can dream, can’t I?”

THIS IS A TIME-SENSITIVE POSTING

Jimena and Erika

During the next few months I will be on line only intermittently.  For quick indicators about tropical weather systems I recommend the Weather Channel if you have cable and also the Masters’ Blog at http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/

The Masters’ Blog link is usually at the upper part of the page on the right hand side.

Please remember if you are in tropical weather territory – it doesn’t always happen to the “other guy.”  And, though landfall events have not been abundant this season, 1992 was also an El Nino season with a slow start and only one hurricane made landfall upon the U.S. coast that year.  ANDREW!  My point?  “All it takes is one!”  I beg you to be prepared – even if you are far from the coast because the effects of a tropical weather system can be devastating many miles from where it makes landfall.

Here are the current potential pathway advisories on Jimena and Erika.

z JimenaErikaCombo

Left click the image in order to enlarge. In some

instances a second left click will enlarge even further.

The Hurricane Season of 2009 Has Begun!

6-1-09 HurricaneBegin

MOST IMAGES ON THIS WEBLOG ENLARGE WITH LEFT CLICKS

This image shows no tropical activity 15 minutes into our 2009 season (not surprisingly) but you can clearly see the clouds development with a stationary front cutting diagonally across the image.

The Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean hurricane season “officially” begins on June 1.  The fact that Tropical Depression 1 formed about 4 days before the official season’s beginning is not an indication of an active hurricane season this year.  There seems to be no relationship between early activity and the “busyness” of that season.  In fact, there is a real possibility that an El Niño event will be strong during what we consider the peak activity period of our season (the approximate middle of the 6 month long period).  Eastern Pacific sea surface temperatures have been rising steadily for the last several months pointing to the El Niño possibility.  That means is that our 2009 season might be less active than usual if the ENSO comes to fruition.  ENSO = El Niño Southern Oscillation.  BUT, even if a strong El Niño develops it is no time to let down one’s guard if living in “hurricane country.”  1992 was an El Niño year and that was when Andrew occurred.  My house in Homestead was a total loss.

I was extremely well prepared back then (August 24, 1992) but hurricane Andrew slammed in as a category 5.  However, we did have a plan and it worked to the degree that no one in my family was physically hurt.  Only one window had a small crack but – the roof failed and the damage was almost beyond belief for us.  Since Andrew was a relatively dry storm our windows holding firm did make it so that we were able to salvage some valuable items afterwards because the wind did not gut the house.

We stayed in the community and helped rebuild.  We had great insurance and our house was reconstructed in one year to a higher standard.  During that time we four lived in a 25’ travel trailer that I purchased for that purpose but kept for several years afterwards to use for recreational and educational travel.

If you live in “hurricane country” then you have choices.  Some of us have more choices than others but you should at least have a plan that is clearly articulated to and understood by each member of your household.  Shall you be well prepared or do you choose to become a potential victim who is dependent upon others almost immediately after a storm?

I urge you to follow to the best of your ability those preparation suggestions made by your local and federal agencies.  Some of us are more fortunate than others in what we are able to do to protect our dwellings – that is, those of us who are lucky enough to have a place we call home.

In my new post-retirement community and in neighboring communities (Citrus and neighboring counties)  I see what I consider to be real paradoxes or, at the very least, some irony.  I’m reminded (but to a somewhat lesser degree) of one of my Homestead neighbors who drove a Mercedes while his wife drove a BMW; they owned a very large boat moored at a dock in nearby Biscayne Bay, an ultra-light aircraft and a twin Cessna – yet they had no window protection of any sort for their home.  I speculate that it was not a matter of the cost of such protection but more a matter of priorities and life style with perhaps a little measure of denial thrown in.

Some people in my part of Florida feel that by being inland they have some sort of immunity to the ravages of hurricanes.  Yes – it is an advantage being inland, especially if on high ground but it does not offer any guarantees.  Most deaths in hurricanes (on the average) are due to high water and being away from the storm surge zones and areas prone to flooding from the storm’s downpours makes for a safer situation – generally speaking.  But, high winds can play havoc particularly when items become projectiles in the wind.  It is a fact that if the wind velocity doubles, the force it exerts upon a surface it is striking at right angles quadruples!  People in my part of Florida experienced a lot of activity if they were here in 2004 but the wind velocities were luckily relatively low.  Only modestly higher wind velocities would have produced exponentially greater force and far greater damage.  Furthermore, tornadoes and microbursts occur within hurricane bands and neither have a preference for locations near the coast.

Come early August we will have been in our new home for four years.  Our first major purchase when moving in was window and door storm protection.  We had tended to that “need” before we were even set up with a cable connection for our televisions and computers.  For the first two years that we were here I participated in a number of hurricane expos as the “hurricane resource person” on site.  There were expo participants who were in the business of selling, fabricating, and installing storm protection to homes and businesses.  Most visitors were there to learn about hurricane safety and hurricane protection.  But one particular type of visitor seemed to come to these expos in order to exercise their debate skills on the pros and cons of storm protection for windows and doors.  I was amazed at times by the level of denial and warped rationalization that I witnessed.  Some argued that they refused to concern themselves with such matters and would just let their insurance take care of it for them.  There was little if any consideration for how they would deal with losses of personal items, safety issues if they were not to evacuate, safety issues if they were to evacuate, where they would go if they did evacuate in time, and how they would handle matters when they returned if things were torn all to hell!  I am convinced that some of the men I talked to felt that it was a manly thing to face a storm raw without preparation – even though in some case it meant leaving their house mates far more vulnerable than necessary.  To my mind, they had it backwards  – a real man takes care of his own and is available to help others as well.

I can testify, by experience, that the trauma of a storm itself often does not compare to the trauma of the immediate aftermath and rebuilding.  Looting, for example and other forms of predatory behavior can occur.  In heavily damaged areas the majority of those who come to help are good people with good intentions but there is one whole class of “helpers” who are there to take victims for a ride they will never forget.  In South Dade County, where Andrew first struck the U.S.A. the divorce rate just about doubled for the next few years.  Stress and anxiety were on a very high level.

So – please think in terms of the big picture when a hurricane visits – not simply the weather event itself.  Think in terms of what you’ll do if you lose electricity for several days and how you will fare food-wise if you need to go for a week or more without provisions and how you’ll communicate.  Cell phones go out of commission when the transmission and relay towers are damaged.  Then there are the special needs people who absolutely must make arrangements for care in the event of a serious storm.

Please be prepared to the best of your ability.  If you later consider all of that planning and work to be for naught because no hurricane occurs in your region – there will be more seasons to follow for which you will again be ready and if, near the end of the season, you have a box full of “emergency food” there are surely some places near where you live to donate it to the needy.  After all, the end of the official hurricane season (November 30) and Thanksgiving (November 26) are pretty darned close to each other.

Here is this season’s list of names; tropical cyclonic systems will receive names in order from this list once they reach tropical storm intensity; tropical storm sustained winds fall in the range of 39 mph to 73 mph; of course they retain their names if they become hurricanes (74 mph or more):

Ana
Bill
Claudette
Danny
Erika
Fred
Grace
Henri
Ida
Joaquin
Kate
Larry
Mindy
Nicholas
Odette
Peter
Rose
Sam
Teresa
Victor
Wanda

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The Effect of Hurricane Winds Upon a House

Image courtesy of NOAA

Image courtesy of NOAA

What follows is an excerpt from a 1998 publication titled AMERICA’S HURRICANE THREAT under the auspices of the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium.  What I’m showing you is a small part of their sobering account of what can happen to houses in the strong winds of a hurricane.  The house on the left in the image above is mildly damaged compared to many in that neighborhood.  I have been reading the above-mentioned report tonight due to my special interest in Hurricane Andrew.  Those of you who have been following this web-log since its beginning 18 days ago might recall having read somewhere that our home was a total loss in that 1992 hurricane.  In time, I have written about the experience in a recent posting dealing with window protection.  Here is the excerpt from the report:

“Andrew totally destroyed 63,000 homes and partly damaged another 110,000, making 250,000 people homeless. With roofs damaged or blown off, rain following the hurricane poured inside structures, soaking and collapsing Sheetrock and destroying billions of dollars worth of furniture, carpeting, televisions, and other items. The insurance industry estimates that 25-40% of insured losses were due to slipshod construction practices.

Most homeowners do not give a second thought to their roofs-until they leak or disappear. Yet roofs are the Achilles heel of homes in hurricane-prone areas from Maine to Texas.

As strong winds strike a building, their flow is diverted, swirling over and around the structure. Think of a mountain stream roaring against a giant boulder, which deflects the current. The stream flow accelerates around the obstacle, resulting in rapids. In the same way, hurricane winds speed up around corners and edges, creating suction that pulls on building materials like a super-powerful vacuum hose. Fierce gusts and suction pressure make a dangerous combination, especially for roofs. They yank off tiles and shingles, first at the roof edge and then along its slope as you’d peel an orange. During Andrew, huge numbers of tiles were stripped from roofs this way, and carried off by high winds, they crashed through windows by tens of thousands.

If you lose a window or door during a hurricane, you’re in big trouble. Extreme winds push through an opening in a building, increasing air pressure inside like blowing up a balloon beyond its capacity. If you force enough air pressure inside a house, it can break at its weakest point, usually the roof.

As roofs are being pushed off from within, they are being pried loose from the outside. Peel away tiles or shingles and you’ll find a covering of roofing paper, under which is plywood attached to rafters. But a roof won’t stand much of a chance in hurricane-force winds if builders haphazardly tie down plywood to rafters-if they use too few nails or miss the rafters altogether with their nail ‘guns.’ After Andrew, engineers reported that many contractors had routinely missed their marks. ‘With the use of automatic nail guns, the workman lost his feel for the nailing process,’ said Saffir. ‘The result was that many nails went through the sheathing into thin air, not into the truss or rafter below. This was a common occurrence.’

If your plywood sheeting flies away in the wind, you’ve lost more than just a roof covering. You’ve also lost a portion of the house’s structural integrity. That is, plywood sheets are often the sole lateral bracing for the rafters, actually holding the roof together. So with the plywood gone, the rafters are loosely tethered in the wind.

To compound the problem, many contractors fail to tightly fasten wood gable ends-the flat ends of a pitched roof-to walls. So when a powerful gust hits an unbraced gable, the gable end can be pulled loose at the wall, allowing wind to enter the building. If the roof sheathing is pulled off at the gable end, the rafters can fall over.

During hurricane Andrew, tens of thousands of homes were damaged due to such failures in roofs.”

NOTE FROM CLOUDMAN23:  Many of you reading this could be living in dwellings without adequate roof truss tie-downs and/or with poor roof sheathing attachment.  Do you know what the codes were when your house was built?  Do you feel confident that your dwelling was built according to code?  Were the inspections thorough and particular or were they inadequate?  For some, those are hard questions to answer.  In any event, please evacuate if Ike is heading your way.  Heed the warnings.  Please.

Please visit the rest of this web-log at https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/.  If you are interested in weather, there are some tutorials scattered about and more will be added in time.  At the end of this page there is a cue to click to the previous page or the next page.

Window Protection For Hurricanes Is Essential

Garage doors are usually the weakest link!

For home and business owners who are soon to be in the danger zone for Ike and do not have any window and door protection (including garage door bracing), there is not enough time to acquire anything that is permanent.  Besides, permanent protection (e.g. accordions, roll ups, Bahama shutters) are expensive.  At the time of this writing (9-8-2008, 3 pm EDT) There is still enough time to purchase plywood, cut it to size, install anchors to the exterior walls and pre-drill holes in the plywood for adequate attachment.  If you have a cement block structure do not count on masonry nails to secure your protection.  The sheets of plywood require more than that.  They often become big Frisbees ready to decapitate anyone unfortunate enough to be out in the storm.  It’s a lot of work to do the job right but I think it’s worth it.  If you have storage space for the plywood you can then have the sheets ready for the next time.  This all takes time, a little bit of knowledge, tools, and energy.  Permanent shutters are so much more convenient particularly for people who would be unable to handle the heavy plywood or install it without either hurting themselves or becoming totally exhausted.  You don’t want to be totally exhausted; evacuation might soon be the next step.

Seriously, for the future, consider permanent protection.  Protect not only your investment but also perhaps your sanity or at least your peace of mind.  There are no guarantees but good, properly installed, and easily activated protection is a giant step in the right direction.

For people who have never experienced a powerful hurricane, it comes as a shock to learn how many otherwise harmless objects can become lethal projectiles in a hurricane (e.g. potted plants, garbage cans, signs, damage debris, mail boxes, etc.).  Conventional windows will not take much punishment from flying objects.  Suppose you got lucky and a broken window (or windows) did not result in a great deal of damage.  How many of you know how to repair one?  How many of you could actually cut the glass after you purchase it, and properly install it?  And if you can’t do that, who would you find to do the work for you if there is a great deal of damage in your area?  How long do you think it would take to get that job done? If you are interested in a lengthy personal account with more information, please read on