It seems that Hurricane Irene has focused a lot of attention on big storms and the damage they can do. This morning I heard that there is a major, could be a Cat 3 or more forming between here and Africa, and two tropical depressions in the Caribbean, one of which is likely to gain strength and hit somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico. I heard one of the respected weather forecasters for tropical storms, Joe Bastardi, a couple days ago saying the trend this year will be for big storms coming from Africa hitting the Atlantic coast with other storms forming in the Caribbean traveling up into the gulf. Sounds like he is correct again.
You've heard all the things you can and should do if you are in harms way. Food, water, batteries, something to cook with, and communication devices ready and charged. Then protect your home the best you can, most media is talking about and showing plywood to board up your windows and doors. But there are alternatives to plywood. The most popular up until a few years ago were to have storm shutters custom made for your home with various different materials and designs available. They are expensive and most of them must be stored somewhere, or at the least, put in place and fastened down when a storm threatens. Imagine lugging shutters or plywood up a ladder to fasten in place on the second or third floor of your home, and then having to go up and remove them when the storm passes, and doing that several times a year. Also consider that when a storm passes it virtually always knocks the power out. So there you are with your family sitting in your totally dark boarded up home while you wait for the storm to pass and the all clear to finally be allowed to go outside, sometimes days later.
This changed pretty dramatically a few years ago when hurricane windows were developed. These windows are designed to withstand hurricane force wind and water. To the novice they look just like any other windows but they incorporate special glazing materials and frames designed and fastened in to take great amounts of stress from severe weather. They are better than plywood or hurricane shutters in every way, but the biggest difference is they are always protecting your home. No putting up or taking down hurricane protection ever again. No more sitting in the dark. And for many people the benefit of not having to travel to your vacation or rental home to install the protection you need, it's always there.
So if you haven't heard about the new, real STORM WINDOWS - get on line, ask around. There are several manufacturers, but be sure to keep in mind that you want and need energy savings along with your storm protection, don't sacrifice one, your deserve to have both benefits.