Hurricane Idalia preparation should not include tape on windows
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Hurricane Idalia preparation should not include tape on windows

Sep 01, 2023

The first major hurricane to hit Florida this hurricane season is expected to make landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast on Wednesday. As Floridians rush to make last-minute preparations for Hurricane Idalia, the typical parade of hurricane hacks are swarming social media.

The list of Floridian hurricane hacks are endless. But some of them aren’t a good idea, regardless of if your neighbors, family or friends have told you they are.

For example: Filling your washing machine with ice to keep your refrigerated items cool in a power outage is unsanitary and could ruin your washing machine and sinking your lawn furniture in your pool could damage your furniture or even get rust in your pool. Some “tips” are really myths, not hacks.

But what about putting masking tape on your windows to keep them from breaking?

Some Floridians believe that taping a big X across their windows before a major storm will keep them from shattering in hurricane-force winds.

But if your windows are not designed to withstand the impact of hurricane-force winds and the debris they pick up, the strongest tape on the market can’t even keep them from shattering during a storm.

If you don’t have hurricane windows or impact windows, built for severe weather conditions, taping them will do nothing. It could even be more dangerous.

Hurricane prep myths to avoid:Taping windows, using oil lanterns are common

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), if a window is taped, when it breaks, the glass will shatter into large, life-threatening shards.

FEMA says that if your window breaks, it's better for it to shatter into smaller pieces of glass that are less likely to seriously injure you.

Hurricane window film, an adhesive hurricane protection product for windows, can help add an extra layer of protection to your windows, but isn’t an approved hurricane protection product in Florida.

It’s not recommended that Hurricane window film be used in place of boarding up your windows or using hurricane shutters.

Security window film doesn’t prevent glass from breaking and is not an affordable alternative to impact windows or hurricane shutters. But the product can keep broken shards of glass held in place, keeping the shards from flying into your home.

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The cheapest, last-minute option for keeping your windows shatter-safe during a major storm or hurricane is to use good quality plywood boards to board them up.

If you don’t have hurricane shutters, boarding up your windows with plywood can keep your windows from shattering in high-speed winds and protect them from debris being thrown into them.

Live updates:Hurricane Idalia surge will be 'difficult to survive' in areas of Florida Big Bend

According to the National Weather Service’s guide to wind speed, wind speeds of over 75 miles per hour can lift roofs and break windows.

Hurricane Idalia is now a major, potentially deadly storm, according to NWS, and could bring winds over 100 mph to Florida’s Gulf Coast. The storm is expected to make landfall along Florida’s Big Bend on Wednesday.

Lianna Norman covers trending news in Palm Beach County for The Palm Beach Post. You can reach her at [email protected]. You can follow her reporting on social media @LiannaNorman on X.

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