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There are many myths about hurricanes, but the facts behind these storms could make the difference between life and death if you live by any of the common misnomers about one of Mother Nature’s most powerful types of storms.
Many hurricane facts and myths circle about in every day pop culture.
I used to believe some of these myths, too. However, I grew up in Florida — one of the most hurricane-prone states in the country. So, I quickly learned that many of the things I heard about hurricanes were in fact myths that could be quickly dispelled by facts that have been proven by scientific research and studies.
For example, I thought that you could safely ride out a hurricane in a mobile home grounded with anchors. However, the truth is that mobile dwellings and other types of manufactured homes simply aren’t as durable as homes constructed from the ground up.
And, there are many other hurricane myths and facts you’ll need to know if you want to weather the storm. Check these out:
Myth: Coastal regions are the only places that will see flooding during a hurricane.
Fact: Coastal regions are highly prone to floods during the landfall of a hurricane, but are far from the only area that will experience flooding from the storm. In fact, inland areas can only undergo extreme flooding during a hurricane.
The risk of flooding depends not just on your proximity to the shore, but also the prevalence of bodies of water near you, how low-lying your street or yard is, and also where storm runoff drains are located relative to your property. I lived on a street that had a 58-foot elevation, yet was close to a storm water retention pond and, therefore, flooded even during heavy summer thunderstorms. Check with your local municipality for a flood plain map and to determine your risk of experiencing localized flooding.
Myth: The windows are the most vulnerable part of my home during a hurricane.
Fact: Windows are but one area of concern when it comes to protecting your home from damage. Yes, windows are liable to break under pressure from extreme wind or upon impact by wind-drive debris, but windows are far from the only part of your home that could easily be breached during a hurricane.
Your garage door is perhaps one of the likeliest components of your home to give in to high winds. The wide panels of a typical garage door are rendered flimsy in high winds and can easily collapse if not properly braced. Two-car garage doors are even more vulnerable. Protect your home by purchasing high-wind rated windows and doors, and give yourself an extra layer or protection by purchasing metal rollaway storm shutters.
Myth: Home insurance will cover all damage caused by a hurricane.
Fact: A commonly held belief is that your home insurance provider will necessarily provide complete coverage of any and all damage caused by a hurricane. Facts, however, quickly dissipate hurricane myths like these. Wind damage and flood damage are usually viewed by most insurance providers as two entirely different things.
Usually, flood insurance is a separate entity altogether and comes with a high deductible. You should definitely check with your insurance company if your home is fully insured against flood damage, and, if it isn’t, find out how much it will cost to add this type of coverage to your home insurance policy.
Myth: You need to crack the windows for a hurricane.
Fact: I grew up hearing this one, too. The theory was that opening your windows a bit would help equalize air pressure between the indoors and the outdoors and prevent your home from exploding during a hurricane or tornado.Yet, science indicates otherwise. I learned that you should always keep your windows locked tightly during a major storm to best protect your home from wind and especially airborne debris.
Myth: A mandatory evacuation really only applies to people living in trailers and along the coastline.
Fact: If you live in an area that has been deemed a mandatory evacuation zone, that means you need to leave no matter the type of home you live in or its location. Using a hurricane tracker can help you stay up to date on where a hurricane is heading and can provide you a little advance indication as to if the storm is barreling your direction. True, many times evacuation orders end up being false alarms, but ultimately they’re designed to save the lives of everyone in the evacuation area.
I'm a weather geek from Florida who's been studying meteorology and watching weather patterns for years! I enjoy sharing little-known facts and fun stuff about the weather. I especially like sharing interesting details about weather events and conditions that can affect you… and how to prepare for Mother Nature's ever-changing weather patterns.