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Preparing a Hurricane Kit: Supplies You Should Stock This Season

Preparing a Hurricane Kit: Supplies You Should Stock This Season

Photo: Nature.com

Hurricane season has officially begun, and forecasters are anticipating a significant amount of storm activity during the 2018 season in the Atlantic Ocean, which runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. According to Weather.com, 13 named storms are projected for this season, in addition to Tropical Storm Alberta, which formed in May before the season had officially begun and made landfall near Laguna Beach, Florida.

Photo: Pinterest

Of the 13 storms projected to develop into named storms in 2018, six are expected to attain hurricane strength—and two are expected to become major hurricanes, reaching an intensity of Category 3 or higher. When it comes to tropical storms and hurricanes, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and there’s no better time than the present to go over your hurricane preparation checklist and make sure your hurricane kit is well-stocked and ready to go should a storm strike where you live this season.


Photo: Stephanie Banfield

Unlike storms such as tornados—which tend to strike without much, if any, warning—hurricanes typically develop slowly over a period of several days as they strengthen from a tropical disturbance to a tropical depression to a tropical storm to a hurricane of varying intensities. But just because a storm is still hundreds of miles off the coastline and its path is not projected to affect you for a few more days doesn’t mean you should kick back and relax while you wait to figure out exactly where it’s going to hit.

Photo: RVA News

Storms can intensify rapidly—sometimes going from a tropical system to a strong hurricane in a matter of only a few hours—and their course can change drastically depending on factors ranging from ocean water temperatures to land masses they encounter along the way. To ensure you’re properly prepared to ride out a storm that hits your area and to care for yourself, your family and your pets for several days if roads become inaccessible and facilities remain closed, it’s imperative to build your hurricane kit in advance and to stock up on supplies well ahead of time. According to Ready.gov, at the minimum, your hurricane kit should include the following basic items:

  • Water (1 gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days, for drinking and sanitation purposes)
  • Food (3-day supply of nonperishable food per person/pet)
  • Medications (1-week supply of prescription medications per person/pet)
  • Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Manual can opener for food items
  • Wrench and/or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Trash bags, plastic ties and moist towelettes for personal sanitation
  • Local maps
  • Dust mask to filter contaminated air
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to cover holes in walls and the roof and protect you from the elements as you shelter in place)
  • Cell phone with charger (and an extra battery pack/portable power bank that is fully charged)
  • Whistle (to signal that you need assistance in the event that you need to be rescued)
Photo: WTVR

Remember that many people residing in coastal regions will wait until a storm is projected to make landfall before they head to the store to grab supplies. Stock your hurricane kit with supplies in advance to avoid running the risk of stores running out of necessary supplies—and to avoid the chaos that comes with trying to gather everything you need at the last minute along with everyone else in town. With the 2018 hurricane season in full swing, it’s more important than ever to keep a watchful eye on the weather, and when you discover that a storm is forecast to hit your area, you can rest assured in knowing that your hurricane kit is fully stocked and you are well-prepared to protect yourself and your loved ones when its wind and waves collide with the coastline.

hurricane fabric

Boarding Up with Hurricane Fabric


hurricane-fabric-astroguard-outerbanksAs a homeowner in a coastal area prone to Hurricanes, you have probably considered hurricane panels at one time or another.  Hurricane panels or shutters protect your home from damaging winds, driving rain and flying debris often associated with hurricanes and severe storms.

In the past, hurricane panels took the form of plywood, metal and corrugated lexan. The materials used for these panels typically produce heavy, cumbersome panels which require a massive storage area when the panels are not in use. A typical rigid panel is mounted on tracks, protruding anchors or brackets which often remain in place even when the panel is not in use. This hardware is unsightly and detracts from the overall aesthetic of your home. In addition, installation of most rigid panels will require the help of two or more people to position and attach the panels to the openings. Rigid panels such as plywood, metal and lexan can be dangerous if you are installing the panels in a high wind situation. Don’t worry, there are less dangerous alternatives. 

Times and technologies have changed and given rise to a new option in the fight against the storms fury. Introducing hurricane fabric panels, yes fabric! Advancements in fabric technology have given rise to the fabric hurricane panel. Fabric panels are typically made from polypropylene mesh or a layer of woven fabric that is coated with a geo-synthetic PVC material, in some cases, Kevlar. So how do they stack up against their competition? 

plywood-hurricane-shutters-outerbanksCOST: At only $3 – $5 sf installed, plywood is the least expensive storm panel on the market.  Rigid steel corrugated panels, average between  $10-$14 sf installed.  Accordion style storm shutters can be installed in the $18-$28 sf range. The fabric panel is the second least expensive panel on the market at $9 – $12 per square foot professionally installed. 

DEPLOYMENT: Fabric hurricane panels are extremely lightweight and easy to handle. After the initial installation, panel deployment can be handled by one person. On the other hand, rigid panels (i.e. plywood, metal and lexan shutters) are awkward, cumbersome and heavy requiring multiple people to install. Fabric has a clear advantage when it comes time to deploy the panels; they are lightweight and easy to handle. 

corrugated-metal-hurricane-storm-panelIMPACT RESISTANCE: Resistance from flying debris impacts is typically the main deciding factor when choosing a shutter system. Independant tests have proven that some fabric hurricane panels can withstand Category 5 impact testing as well or better than rigid panels. Fabric panels are designed to absorb the impact by deflecting and slowing the projectile. Rigid panels are designed to simply resist the impact by shear strength of the material. Fabric panels have proven they can  match and exceed rigid panels in all impact tests and do it at a lesser cost to the owner. 

INTRUSION: During a hurricane, wind and rain are a major cause of damage to a home. High winds drive rain into small cracks and crevices in and around windows and doors. Fabric panels are both water and wind proof. Fabric panels are available in custom cuts and sizes allowing the installation of one seamless panel across the entire opening. On the other hand, the rigid panel is limited to its size and weight restrictions. The use of multiple rigid panels can create cracks and crevices at panel joints which invite both wind and water leaks.  The fabrics ability to span large openings gives it a slight advantage here. 

lexan-storm-panels-obx-hurricaneAESTHETICS: If you have visited a hurricane prone area, you might have noticed unsightly metal panel anchors or tracks mounted around the windows and doors. Even worse massive roll shutters permanently mounted above and around the door. Some people don’t give it a second glance but if you’re like me, you notice how debilitating it is to the overall architecture of your home. Fabric panels require minimal hardware. Often times the mounting hardware is set flush with the window trim surface and even painted to be virtually invisible. 

GLASS BREAKAGE: Ok, this is where the fabric panel takes a backseat to the rigid panel. A typical storm panel, rigid or fabric, will be installed approximately 1″-2″ outward of the window/door it protects. During an impact from flying debris, the panel deflects inward toward the window. If it deflects too far, the impact will break the window behind the panel. In this scenario, the more rigid the panel the lesser the deflection and the lesser the chance of breaking the window. 

outerbanks-storm-protection-panels-astroguard-fabricSTORAGE-MAINTENANCE: Clearly the fabric panel will prevail here. All rigid panels require a massive amount of space for storage. Storage should be indoors so the elements don’t affect them. Plywood rots and warps, Steel rusts and Lexan degrades from UV rays. Fabric panels will not rot, rust, break or degrade. After use, the fabric panels can be hosed off, folded up like curtains, placed in storage bags and stored in an attic, shed or closet. Fabric shutters are near maintenance free,  require minimal storage space and are easy to store. 

In conclusion, fabric hurricane panels are an inexpensive, lightweight, easy to install, impact resistant, attractive, low maintenance solution to cumbersome, unsightly rigid storm panels on the market today. 

-blog provided by Michael York, The Coastal Cottage Company – www.coastalcottageobx.com


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