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Hurricane Preparedness in Barbados: A Step-by-Step Guide

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It’s never too early to start preparing for the hurricane season. As more climate-related changes unfold before our eyes globally, each hurricane season is becoming more intense than the last. If you are in Barbados and experienced the passage of Hurricane Elsa in July 2021, you might have taken away a few lessons on hurricane preparation. 

At Talius Caribbean, we value preparedness especially as the region remains vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms. Our comprehensive guide on hurricane preparedness will help you to ensure all bases are covered to guarantee the safety of your family. 

Make a Comprehensive Plan

Creating an emergency plan for the hurricane season is critical, to document all necessary resources and actions to be taken beforehand. Ask yourself the following as you put pen to paper:

  • What will your family do in the event that basic utilities like power and water are lost for an extended period of time?
  • If evacuation is required, what is the best route to get to the nearest shelter and what supplies will you need to keep your family safe?
  • How can you stay connected to national alerts?
  • Do you have to make provisions for pets and livestock?
  • How can you plan for children, elderly or disabled members of your household?

Once you have created your plan, it should be easily accessible by all members of the family. Have a sit down with each family member, and give special attention to children as they will need extra guidance on what can potentially happen during a hurricane.

Build Your Emergency Supplies

The worst time to curate an emergency supplies kit is just before a hurricane makes landfall. This is when you will face difficulty in securing all items needed, as you would be caught in the last-minute rush with others. Here is a list of items that can make up your emergency kit:

  1. Water: one gallon per person for several days to cover both consumption and sanitation. Ensure that drinking water is stored in clean bottles and kept covered to avoid contamination. 
  2. Food: non-perishable items that are easy to prepare should be purchased. A 3-day supply in evacuation and a 2-week supply for the home is recommended
  3. A 7-day supply of medicine of both prescription and non-prescription medicines 
  4. A first aid kit
  5. Masks, personal sanitizers, and personal hygiene items such as feminine items, moist towelettes, garbage bags
  6. Extra cash because ATM services are likely to be disrupted
  7. Extra fuel for the car and generators 
  8. A battery-operated radio and extra batteries for all battery-operated devices
  9. Chargers for all electronic devices
  10. Copies of important documents such as – prescriptions and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, passports, and insurance policies. These should be stored in a waterproof area and can be in both physical and digital copies. 
  11. Multi-purpose tools, wrench, or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  12. A sleeping bag and/or warm blankets for each person
  13. Baby items: infant formula, diapers, bottles wipes
  14. Pet food and water
  15. Fire extinguisher
  16. Matches in a waterproof container
  17. Change of clothes and sturdy shoes should evacuation be required

Hurricane Protection

At Talius Caribbean, we offer a range of hurricane solutions guaranteed to help you save money on glass replacement, protect the contents of your home and harmonize with the curb appeal of your property. Before the season starts, conduct an assessment of your home and determine how your windows and doors can be reinforced with protection solutions. Take a look at what is offered in Barbados:

Rollshutters

The leading solution in hurricane protection is the rollshutter. Its strength and durability make it the ultimate solution to protect your home from flying debris. This retractable shutter fits also neatly into an overhead panel box. 

Accordion Shutters

Accordion Shutters have gained popularity from their ease of use and excellent hurricane protection capabilities. Homeowners with second-story openings will reap the benefits of installing this shutter, as it folds compactly to either side of an opening and can be closed from the inside. 

Bahama Shutters

Bahama Shutters are superior hurricane protection solutions that add a tropical feel to the outside of your home. When opened, the slats in the shutter allow natural light to enter the room and can be closed providing storm protection without heavy lifting and tools. 

Storm Panels 

Traditional plywood is often seen as a last-minute fix before a hurricane comes. However, Talius’ storm panels are a trusted alternative that is easy to handle and store while allowing natural light to enter your space. These strong, cost-effective panels can also be used to keep wind and rain outside of your outdoor living space.

Hurricane Fabric

Another cost-effective option to safeguard your property is Hurricane Fabric, made from geo-synthetic PVC material. The fabric has been proven to act as a barrier against projectile objects and rain and can be easily removed and stored after a hurricane has passed.

Colonial Shutters 

With our Colonial Shutters, functionality meshes with decorative appeal. The shutters are made from multiple panels that can fold out to cover large openings and are hinged which allows them to be closed without heavy lifting. Best of all, they are virtually maintenance-free which means efficiency and convenience are added value. 

Standby Power

Electricity is one of the first utilities impacted when a hurricane makes landfall. The tricky part is, that you do not know when it will be restored. Talius Caribbean offers the best standby power on the market, as Generac Generators are a household name in the industry. Residential generators can be either manual or automatic, and once the loss of power is detected they switch on. The capacity of these generators ranges from 5.6 kVA to 13 kVA, and a representative from our team can assist you with finding the best generator for your home. 

Know Your Shelters

Finally, it is wise to take note of the emergency shelters on the island in the event that you are advised to evacuate from home. Emergency shelters in Barbados are divided into two categories: 

  • Category 1 Shelters may be used during a hurricane or other hazard event
  • Category 2 Shelters may be used if they are still in a reasonable condition after a hazardous event or disaster.

Here are a few things to remember should you have to evacuate from home:

  • Leave during daylight and avoid flooded roads
  • Ensure your family members are fed before you evacuate
  • No pets are allowed in any of the shelters 
  • Take small valuables inclusive of identification and travel light

Preparing for a hurricane may seem like a daunting task, however, making an early start and breaking down the process into manageable steps will ensure that you are ready for what lies ahead. 

prepare for a hurricane

How Should You Prepare for a Hurricane in Advance?

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It is never wise to wait until a hurricane watch or warning to prepare. In fact, you will compete with many other persons looking to do the best they can at the last minute. Though early forecasts are made of the hurricane season. There is still a level of uncertainty as to when a storm or hurricane will come and how destructive it will be. Here are some ways to prepare for a hurricane in advance:

Make a Preparedness Plan

Nothing beats a well-thought-out plan that guides your household should there be a hurricane or a tropical storm. Rather than making decisions based on panic, having a plan will guide the following as you prepare for a hurricane:

  1. Emergency supplies needed for your household
  2. Family and national emergency contacts in case you need to reach them
  3. Evacuation procedures: the nearest shelters should be located along with knowledge of shelter procedures (COVID-19 considerations), supplies needed at the shelter, and the best route to get there considering potential road damage

Talking with your children about hurricanes is also important in planning. They should have a general idea of what can happen during a hurricane and know their roles in the family plan.

Store Essential Supplies for your Family

Emergency supplies are critical because you never know how long you will be forced to live without essential utilities. Your supplies should be constantly updated should your needs change, and they should be kept in a safe place. In case evacuation is required, have a bag of core items ready, to keep your family safe and healthy. Here are some considerations for your emergency supplies:

  1. Water: one gallon per person for several days to cover both consumption and sanitation. Ensure that drinking water is stored in clean bottles and kept covered to avoid contamination. 
  2. Food: non-perishable items that are easy to prepare should be purchased. A 3-day supply in evacuation and a 2-week supply for the home is recommended
  3. A 7-day supply of medicine of both prescription and nonprescription medicines 
  4. A first aid kit
  5. Sanitation and personal hygiene items such as feminine items, moist towelettes, garbage bags
  6. Extra cash because ATM services are likely to be disrupted
  7. Extra fuel for the car and generators 
  8. A battery-operated radio and extra batteries for all battery-operated devices
  9. Chargers for all electronic devices
  10. Copies of important documents such as – prescriptions and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, passports, insurance policies. These should be stored in a waterproof area and can be in both physical and digital copies. 
  11. Multi-purpose tools, wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  12. A sleeping bag and/or warm blankets for each person
  13. Baby items: infant formula, diapers, bottles wipes
  14. Pet food and water
  15. Fire extinguisher
  16. Matches in a waterproof container
  17. Change of clothes and sturdy shoes should evacuation be required 

Your family should know where the emergency supplies are, and a similar kit should be built for employees stationed at your business during a hurricane.

Prepare your Property

Do not leave it to chance that your home or business is structurally sound, hurricane winds can be as strong as 157MPH thus taking anything in its path. Take the following precautions: 

 

  • Check on your insurance policies to understand your coverage
  • Trim trees around your property 
  • Inspect the condition of your roof and window shutters

 

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale

What is the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale?

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Hurricane categories are rated by wind speed using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. This is hurricane-specific and does not factor in the impact of hazards like storm surges and rainfall flooding. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is an efficient measure of property damage caused by hurricane winds. 

Origin of the Scale

The scale was created in 1969 at the request of the World Meteorological Organization by two meteorologists, one of whom was a director of the National Hurricane Centre. The goal was to clearly classify hurricanes by wind speed, to determine potential population and infrastructure damage. The scale only applies to certain basins, one of which is the Atlantic and the wind speed is tested over a period of a minute using the scale to categorize a hurricane. 

Evolution of the Scale

Weather patterns have significantly shifted since 1969, and climate change is fueling the strong hurricanes and tropical storms being formed in the Atlantic. The 2005 hurricane season which saw the likes of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and Tropical Storm Ivan in Grenada was pivotal in raising questions about the classification system. Though there were suggestions to have a sixth category, minor changes were made by the NHC to categories 3, 4, and 5. 

Here is a breakdown of the hurricane scale from the National Hurricane Centre/ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Category Sustained Winds Type of Damage 
1 74-95 mph

64-82 kt

119-153 km/h

Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed homes could have damage to the roof and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.
2 96-110 mph

83-95 kt

154-177 km/h

Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.
3

(major)

111-129 mph

96-112 kt

178-208 km/h

Devastating damage will occur: Well-built homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.
4

(major)

130-156 mph

113-136 kt

209-251 km/h

Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months
5

(major) 

157 mph or higher

137 kt or higher

Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas

 

storm names

What are the Storm Names for 2021?

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With just a few weeks into the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season, the predictions of above-normal activity are proving to be true. In May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) released the storm names for the season. They are: 

Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Elsa, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Julian, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor, and Wanda.

The NOAA gave its prediction with 70% confidence of a range from 13 to 20 named storms this season, winds 39MPH or more. Six to 10 of the storms could become hurricanes with winds 74MPH or higher and 3 to 5 major hurricanes (categories 3-5) are expected with winds 111MPH or more. 

Following last year’s heightened activity which resulted in all the storm names being used, a supplemental list was created by the World Meteorological Organization to avoid the use of the Greek alphabet. The names are: 

Adria, Braylen, Caridad, Deshawn, Emery, Foster, Gemma, Heath, Isla, Jacobus, Kenzie, Lucio, Makayla, Nolan, Orlanda, Pax, Ronin, Sophie, Tayshaun, Viviana, and Will.

How many names have been used so far?

Tropical Storm Ana got the ball rolling on May 22, 2021, when she headed northeast of Bermuda, but luckily did not make landfall. Tropical Storm Ana’s formation marked the seventh year that a system formed before the official June 1 commencement date. Ana was said to “barely hold” as a tropical storm but gave insight into what is to come.

A hurricane in July?

The peak of the hurricane season which starts in August is traditionally thought of as the time when hurricanes are most likely to form. However, Hurricane Elsa made landfall in Barbados on July 2, 2021, as the first hurricane to hit the island since 1955. 

Hurricane Elsa was upgraded to a category one Hurricane during her passage over Barbados. The NHC had forecast 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm) of rain with a maximum of 15 inches (38 cm) across the Windward and the southern Leeward Islands including Barbados, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Loss of power, water, and devastation caused by winds over 70MPH impacted Barbados. 

Hurricane Elsa’s early formation made her the earliest fifth named storm of any Atlantic Hurricane Season on record, outdoing the record set by Edouard on July 5, 2020. From 1991 to 2020, the average date for a fifth storm was August 18. It was only during eight seasons that the fifth storm did not occur until September (The Weather Channel) 

What does this mean for the rest of the season?

One might think that Ana’s formation before the official start of the season and Elsa’s impact might be an indicator of what is to come. Although the season is predicted to be above normal, there is no correlation between storms or hurricanes occurring in June and July and the overall season activity. 

While there is no telling how the rest of the reason will unfold, preparedness is key for what comes next.

How do I prepare my home for the hurricane season

How Do I Prepare My House for the Hurricane Season?

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Is your home ready for the hurricane season?

The 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season got underway on June 1 and the best way to safeguard your loved ones is to prepare early. Hurricanes can produce a range of hazardous conditions including heavy rainfall, storm surges, mudslides, and floods. Taking control of your safety should not be left until the last minute, here are some ways to be proactive this season:

Secure Your Home

Conducting an assessment of your home can reveal areas that need to be protected before a hurricane comes. This can include a roof inspection which may lead to roof clips and window shutters. As a leading company in storm protection solutions, Talius offers the following for hurricane protection:

  1. Rollshutters: When you think of hurricane solutions, you think of rollshutters because of their ability to withstand high wind speeds and heavy rains. They are retractable and are a viable long-term investment even beyond the hurricane season. 
  2. Accordion Shutters: These have become popular for giving superior protection, with locking mechanisms for greater enforcement. Just like an accordion, these shutters fold compactly on either side of a door.
  3. Bahama Shutters: Bahama shutters combine the true tropical feel with maximum protection, through a series of slats that are debris resistant when closed. They are great for last-minute preparation because they are easy to secure without tools. 
  4. Colonial Shutters: These decorative yet effective shutters are constructed out of panels that fold to cover large openings, and can be open or closed without heavy lifting. 
  5. Storm Panels: Rather than leaving the fate of your windows to plywood, an investment in our clear storm panels assures durability during the storm and easy removal after. 
  6. Hurricane Fabric: Another popular alternative to traditional window shutters and panels is hurricane fabric. Made from coated geo-synthetic PVC material, the fabric acts as a barrier to rain and flying objects. 

Check Your Gutters

Before a hurricane comes, grab a ladder or call a professional to clean your gutters. By cleaning your gutters of existing debris, you can help to reduce the amount of damage to your roof, as well as the amount of water that seeps into your home. 

Check on the condition of your gutters, any cracks or broken pieces can stop gutters from fulfilling their purpose. It is also recommended that you add some pressure to the gutters, to ensure they are secure 

Clean the Clutter

Take a walk around your home and identify any items that can be swept up in strong winds and potentially damage your home and others. Lightweight items like patio furniture and plants can be placed inside, while heavier items would have to be secured. 

Verify Insurance Coverage

Contact your Insurance Officer to get an idea of what is covered under your insurance policy. Should your home be damaged, you would already know how the insurance company would assist. Keep a digital copy of the policy, and a physical copy in a safe place. 

Trim the Trees

Remove trees with multiple trunks which become dangerous as they grow. Trim branches which can come in contact with the building during the hurricane. Dispose of branches properly to avoid them being picked up by strong winds.

getting ready for the hurricane season

Getting Ready for the Hurricane Season

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June 1st is upon us once again, which means it is time to be hurricane-ready. While you cannot control what the hurricane season brings, you have all the power to prioritize your family’s safety. The Atlantic has been forecast to be extra busy this year, so here are some tips to get ahead on hurricane preparedness:

Make a Plan

A holistic plan guides what to do should your country be impacted by a hurricane or tropical storm. In a crisis, people tend to act in haste which can cause important things to be forgotten. Plan ahead to include:

  1. Emergency supplies needed for your household
  2. Family contacts and national emergency contacts in case you need to reach them
  3. Evacuation procedures by locating the nearest shelter, what to take with you and the best route to get there considering potential road damage
  4. Pets: seek advice on how to care for your pets if evacuation is required and what is needed for them

Gather Emergency Supplies 

Keeping your family as safe as possible requires having adequate food, water, medicine, and other supplies to function during and after a hurricane. At a minimum, here is a list of what is needed during and after a hurricane:

  1. Water: one gallon per person for several days to cover both consumption and sanitation. Ensure that drinking water is stored in clean bottles and kept covered to avoid contamination. 
  2. Food: non-perishable items that are easy to prepare should be purchased. A 3-day supply in evacuation and 2-week supply for the home is recommended
  3. A 7-day supply of medicine of both prescription and non prescription medicines 
  4. A first aid kit
  5. Sanitation and personal hygiene items such as feminine items, moist towelettes, garbage bags
  6. Extra cash because ATM services are likely to be disrupted
  7. Extra fuel for the car and generators 
  8. A battery operated radio and extra batteries for all battery operated devices
  9. Chargers for all electronic devices
  10. Copies of important documents such as – prescriptions and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, passports, insurance policies. These should be stored on a water proof area and can be in both physical and digital copies. 
  11. Multi purpose tools, wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  12. A sleeping bag and/or warm blankets for each person
  13. Baby items: infant formula, diapers, bottles wipes
  14. Pet food and water
  15. Fire extinguisher
  16. Matches in a waterproof container
  17. Change of clothes and sturdy shoes should evacuation be required

Emergency supplies needed for evacuation should already be packed in a “go kit” to avoid any delays in leaving home. The COVID-19 pandemic means that your supplies must give special consideration to: hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, bar and liquid soaps, disinfectant wipes and a minimum of 2 face masks per person. Keep abreast of the protocols within emergency shelters. 

Prepare Your Home: In the midst of stocking up on essential items, do not lose track of the importance of  home preparation. When it comes to the home, you must hope for the best, but prepare for the worst:

Update home inventory, photos and insurance policies: Be informed about your insurance policy and what it covers in the event your home is destroyed. Take photos of your home before a hurricane watch or warning. 

Trim trees around the house: Trees with multiple trunks are especially dangerous as they grow and should be removed before the hurricane season. Trim branches which can come in contact with the building during the hurricane. Dispose of branches properly to avoid them being picked up by strong winds.

Inspect the condition of your roof: Having a professional inspect your roof can inform you weather additional measures need to be sought to reinforce the roof

Inspect the condition of your shutters: Many persons who may have invested in window treatments like rollshutters do not use them regularly, and our professionals at Talius can inspect them to make sure they are fully functional.

Invest in storm protection solutions for the hurricane season: At Talius, we offer the best storm protection solutions that integrate with your home’s appeal seamlessly. Rollshutters remain trusted for their strength and durability, however, our Accordion Shutters, Hurricane Fabric, and more are also available.

What months are worst for hurricanes?

What Months Are Worst For Hurricanes?

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As the 2021 hurricane season swiftly approaches, many are anxious about what it will mean for the Caribbean. Though spared from the 2020 season for the most part, the upsurge in activity shows the alarming impact of climate change. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) recently announced the new hurricane season average as 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes, following the period of 1991-2020 . This year will now see the updated average taken into effect, and it has already been forecast to be above average

What you may not know is although the season commences June 1st annually, there is a peak period in each hurricane season. Here is some insight to the worst months for hurricanes.

Is there such a thing as a “bad month” for a hurricane?

Yes, in fact, the season peaks between August and October annually, and September 10th has been statistically proven as the day is most likely for a hurricane to form in the Atlantic. Hurricanes need water temperatures above 80° to form, and this is optimal during the middle of the season. 

The temperatures are usually accompanied by a lack of wind shear, which is “the variation of the wind’s speed or direction over a short distance within the atmosphere.” (NPR). Between June and July, the wind shear is still relatively high after spring but quickly fades in August. With little wind shear to rip apart hurricanes as they form in warmer waters, the peak of the season begins.

How bad can it be?

Alongside the frequency of hurricanes, there is the significant concern about the speed at which they move. Within the last 70 years, hurricanes around the world have slowed down by 10%, signally longer periods of heavy winds and rains. Hurricane Harvey, formed August 17th, 2017,  is often referenced for the length of time it dwelled over Texas, causing 60 inches of rain in over a week. Bringing it closer to home, Hurricane Dorian made landfall on the Abacos Islands on September 1st, 2019 and dissipated on September 10th. The catastrophic loss was worth approximately USD5.1 million for 10 days of impact. 

How badly has the Caribbean been hit during the peak of the season?

The Caribbean recorded five of its most deadly hurricanes between 1979 and 2019, four of which formed in the peak of the season. These included Hurricane David of August 1979 and Hurricane Jeanne of September 2004. Not only are hurricanes formed during the peak, but more tropical waves and clusters of thunderstorms are likely to form. Take a look at this notable list of weather events:

  • Hurricane Gilbert “slammed” Jamaica on September 12th, 1988, and was the first hurricane to hit the island directly since 1951. Devastation was caused as the eyewall travelled the entire island, even triggering a 9ft storm surge on the north east of the island.
  • Hurricane Ivan has been etched into Grenada’s history, as one of the most powerful tropical storms to hit the Caribbean in that decade. Making landfall on September 4, 2004, Ivan wreaked havoc on the Spice isle as a Category 3 Tropical Storm. 
  • Hurricanes Irma and Maria continue to be deemed unprecedented, having formed in the Atlantic within two weeks of impact. Hurricane Irma caused widespread destruction in September 2017 and was the first Category 5 Hurricane to hit the Leeward Islands. Two weeks later, the northeastern Caribbean was hit by the deadly Category 5 Hurricane Maria. This made history in the region showing how quickly devastating hurricanes can be formed in succession. 
3 low budget things you can do to prepare for a hurricane

3 Low Budget Things You Can Do to Prepare for a Hurricane

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Each hurricane season challenges homeowners to examine the readiness of their homes. Hurricane preparedness solutions on the market range from rollshutters to accordion shutters, but for some these products can be outside the budget. Hurricanes can cause thousands of dollars in damage, and even if the popular solutions are out of reach, measures to prepare should still be explored. Here are three ways to prepare for a hurricane without breaking the bank: 

Hurricane Fabric

Hurricane Fabric is an affordable hurricane solution that is lightweight, and it is so easy to install that it can be a DIY project. Opting to install the fabric on your own also helps to save money. The woven fabric is coated with geo-synthetic PVC material, strong enough to withstand incoming objects from heavy winds and rains. The fabric has a trampoline effect, where objects bounce off rather than penetrating and causing damage to your property. Whether installed on windows or doors, hurricane fabric is certainly the shield your home needs this hurricane season. 

Barrel-Bolt Plywood Shutters

Plywood is often seen as a last minute fix for windows and doors, but when done correctly it can be effective. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that barrel-bolt plywood shutters withstood the impact of Hurricane Andrew in the United States in 1992. 

Exterior grade plywood sheets are recommended to cover windows and doors, but they must be at least 7/16 inches thick. Although homeowners typically secure the sheets with nails, this actually leads to more property damage. The nails are held in place by compression, when the winds cause the plywood to vibrate, it is more likely to be ripped from the wall thus leaving holes around your property. Should you consider using plywood, here are some points to remember (ThePlywood.com):

  • Check with building codes to ensure barrel-bolt shutters will be in compliance
  • Take measurements before purchasing plywood, buying a little extra can make up for any errors in the building process
  • 3-4 inch long heavy duty barrel bolts should be placed at intervals of every two feet as advised by the NOAA, the more bolts the better
  • An electric drill is ideal for drilling into concrete block
  • The plywood can be made water resistant using a wood treatment or paint thus extending it’s lifespan

Hurricane Straps

Hurricane straps are known for tying the roof and walls of a building together for added security. They are made from galvanized steel and though it’s easier to install them during the construction process, they can still be done afterward. They vary from twist ties to multipurpose straps and have been proven to withstand severe weather events. Installation of hurricane straps requires consultation from a reputable carpenter or engineer on the best hurricane strap to work for your home to prepare for a hurricane.

Bonus Tip: Budget-Friendly Emergency Kit

After ensuring the exterior of your home is secure, start to consider a budget friendly emergency kit. Here are some ways to stock up and save:

  • Buy in bulk: Canned foods, toilet paper, and other necessities would be cheaper when purchased in bulk. Purchasing ahead of the hurricane season also ensures that you have supplies before the last-minute rush
  • Bottle your own water: This should be done in bleach purified, two-liter bottles that should be saved rather than thrown away. Find ways to save water that would otherwise have been wasted (like running cold water before a hot bath) to flush toilets and keep yourself clean. 
  • Consider off-brand products: branding can increase the cost of supplies like batteries and cleaning products. There is no harm in purchasing off-brand
will 2021 be an active hurricane season?

Will 2021 Be An Active Hurricane Season?

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The 2021 Atlantic Hurricane season is swiftly approaching and the world waits nervously in anticipation of what is to come. You may recall that 2020’s season was deemed record-breaking, with 30 named storms and 12 making landfall in the United States. It was such an active hurricane season, that the entire roster of named storms was used up, and the US government consulted the Greek alphabet for names like Eta and Iota. 

Luckily, most Caribbean islands were spared from devastating hurricane impact, with Tropical Storm Laura as the main threat that led to the death of 35 people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Yet, what can be expected as the season approaches?

Rethinking the “Average” Season

The 2017 and 2019 hurricane seasons were especially devastating in the Caribbean, acting as proof of global warming effects. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has even begun to rethink the idea of what an “average” hurricane season is. 

Variations in daily weather are calculated using averages based on 30 year periods. The NOAA will soon examine the extremely active period from 1991-2020 and compare it with 1981-2010. Research Associate at the University of Miami, Brian McNoldy, calculated that the average number of named storms would move from 12.1 to 14.4 if the benchmark changes. The average was 10 named storms 30 years ago. 

Not only are the numbers likely to increase, but persons can expect wetter and stronger storms. In short, an active hurricane season.

An earlier season?

Though the season commences June 1st annually, trends over the past few years have indicated that as temperatures in the Atlantic rise, storms are forming earlier. Over the last nine hurricane seasons, seven tropical storms were formed between May 15th and June 1st. Although they tend to be weaker than those formed in the peak of the season, those storms resulted in at least 20 deaths and cost over USD 200 million worth of damage (World Meteorological Organization).

There has not been a change to the hurricane season since 1965, but McNoldy says, “The Atlantic hurricane season has changed quite a few times in the past since the concept of a hurricane season came about. I don’t think there’s any harm in including the May 15 start date.”

Amendments have not yet been made but the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) will issue advisories from mid-May. 

Outlook for 2021

Reports have already stated that there might not be an El Niño this year. “During El Niño, water across the eastern Pacific Ocean warms, making radical shifts to rainfall patterns. Showers subside over Indonesia and move to the eastern part of the Pacific. This results in strong thunderstorms forming, which influences wind patterns in the upper atmosphere, reducing wind shear in the Pacific and increasing it in the Atlantic.” (Palm Beach Post). 

The effects of the El Niño can be felt across the world; the last recorded El Niño of 2018 died just before Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas in September 2019. 

What does this mean for the hurricane season?

Sea surface temperatures and other atmospheric conditions will now have a greater role in how the 2021 season unfolds. Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground and a writer for Yale Climate Connections explains, “Looking at ocean temperatures that are above average in the Caribbean and main development region, early signs are pointing to above average hurricane activity.”

More Greek names?

Should the 2021 Hurricane Season take over from the 2020 season, the WMO has called on the NHC to have more names on standby. The confusion caused by the Greek names last year has resulted in a complete ban of use. The Greek names were used once before for the extremely active season of 2005.

What Can I Put On My Windows To Keep The Heat Out

What Can I Put On My Windows To Keep The Heat Out?

1024 683 Ryan Johnson

Living in the Caribbean, there is no doubt that the sun adds to the tropical appeal. Yet, it also leaves many wondering if there is a special heat being radiated daily. When the days only seem to get hotter, the demand for a cool home environment increases. Here are some solutions designed to keep the heat where it belongs:

Habitat Screens

One of the most acclaimed products in sun protection is the Habitat Screen. The retractable screens are perfect additions to your outdoor space, creating a cool, relaxing atmosphere. The fabrics are offered in three densities (5%,10%, and 45%), all of which allow you to preserve your view while reducing heat. 

When installed, the sun protection is extended to your home decor which can deteriorate because of Ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays are typically thought of as harmful for the skin, but they are especially damaging to furniture overtime. Investing in a habitat screen will not only protect your skin from UV rays and reduce atmospheric temperatures, it will preserve the condition of your furniture in the long term. 

Awnings

Awnings have paved the way for new sun protection solutions to be created, yet they remain high on the list for shading doors and windows. The retractable awnings can be customized from an array of fabrics to provide excellent sun protection for the patio and other spaces. Talius awnings have been proven to block 75% of heat from entering the windows of your home while reducing the sun’s harmful UV rays by 75%. 

Interior Shade

Roller shades are versatile and cost effective solutions for the inside of your home. The elegant fabrics can be operated manually or with motorized control, and it does not make a sound. Natural light can still enter your space and you can choose the fabric’s colour from a palette to complement your interior colour scheme. 

Insulated cellular shades, made from pleated material, have some of the highest R-values or insulation properties of all window treatments. Cellular shades have air pockets in the honeycomb-shaped cross-sections, which can reduce unwanted heat by up to 80%. 

Window Film

Another simple and affordable option to keep the heat out is window film. The film is made from polyester or Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) and can block over 80% of the solar heat entering the window to reduce the overall room temperature. The film comprises an adhesive layer that attaches to the glass, a polyester film layer and a scratch resistant coating. The installation process is simple and the film can easily be peeled off. 

Curtains and Drapes

Drapes and curtains are often thought of in a decorative way. Thermal curtains have emerged, which serve to reflect heat back outside of the home. The ability of either option to reduce heat gain is dependent on the fitting and fabric. Any form of fabric should be hung as close to the window as possible to avoid heat escaping into the room. Drapes usually reach all the way to the floor, unlike curtains, making them a preferred option. Triple woven fabric, as seen with room darkening curtains, is thick enough to limit the penetration of sunlight and UV rays.