Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

7 idiotic things you shouldn't do in a hurricane

There are many urban myths about hurricanes. This is what NOT to do. Clip this out and show it to your know-it-all neighbor.

• Crisscross your windows with masking tape. It's a waste of time when you could spend doing something that might actually protect your home. All you'll get for your troubles is windows covered with hard-to-remove gunk. Tape does not protect your windows. Don't believe us? Tape up a window, then hit it with a baseball bat. Told you.

• Drill four holes in the center of the plywood panels you put over your windows. All this does is give high winds a way to get at your windows.

• Protect only the windows and doors facing the ocean. Bogus. You need protection on all sides. Winds can come from any direction or angle and may quickly change direction.

• Run around the house during the worst of the storm opening the windows on what you perceive to be the "wind" side (or the non-wind side, depending on which myth you buy into) at any given moment. This is bad advice for several reasons: (a) The wind is roaring from all directions; there is no one "wind" side. (b) You want to keep the wind out of the house, period. There is no circumstance under which letting 150 mph winds inside your house is a good idea. (c) At the height of the storm you ought to be in a protected room, not running around the house opening windows.

• I live inland, so I'm safe. Hurricanes threaten only coastal areas. If you evacuated to Orlando in 2004 to escape Hurricane Charley, you know this isn't true. The residents of Polk County were slammed three times that year by hurricanes. Inland flooding was a major problem around Tampa Bay because of Frances and Jeanne in 2004. Inland areas are just as danger-prone as the coast.

• Do nothing. The county will come take you off the barrier island if it gets really bad. Sorry, folks. Evacuate when you're told to. The weather may be beautiful, clear and sunny in the hours leading up to landfall. Emergency-management directors say every year that they won't send "first responders" into life-threatening situations to rescue you as the hurricane makes landfall. The more complicated your rescue (you're elderly or disabled, or you require complicated medical equipment), the sooner you need to leave.

• Once a hurricane passes, the worst is over. Survivors of Hurricane Katrina will beg to differ with you on this. Sometimes the worst is just beginning once the storm passes. The strongest winds may have died down, but there can be tornadoes, rain and flooding after a hurricane. It may be days, weeks, months before the power comes back on, your home is repaired and life returns to normal.

7 idiotic things you shouldn't do in a hurricane 05/16/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 1:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Marijuana extract Epidiolex helps some kids with epilepsy, study shows


    A medicine made from marijuana, without the stuff that gives a high, cut seizures in kids with a severe form of epilepsy in a study that strengthens the case for more research into pot's possible health benefits.

    An employee checks a plant at LeafLine Labs, a medical marijuana production facility in Cottage Grove, Minn. [Associated Press (2015)]
  2. CBO analysis: 23 million would lose health coverage under House-passed bill


    WASHINGTON — The Republican health care bill that passed the House earlier this month would nearly double the number of Americans without health insurance over the next decade, according to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

    President Donald Trump held a press conference in the Rose Garden at the White House with members of the GOP on May 4 after the House passed legislation to roll back the Affordable Care Act. [Cheriss May | Sipa USA via TNS]
  3. Tarpon Springs psychic charged with defrauding veteran, widow out of $155,000


    TARPON SPRINGS — A psychic was arrested Tuesday after police said she scammed two clients out of more than $150,000.

    Gina Wilson
  4. St. Pete Economic Development Corporation lures marketing firm MXTR to town

    Economic Development

    St. Petersburg Economic Development Corporation has lured its first big catch to St. Petersburg — MXTR Automation. The digital marketing company announced Wednesday that it will fill 20 "high-wage" creative positions within the next 18 months, as well as open an office in downtown St. Petersburg this year.

  5. Hernando sheriff: Middle school staffer accused of sexually assaulting student


    SPRING HILL — A staffer and coach at Fox Chapel Middle School was arrested Tuesday, accused of sexually assaulting a student on the school's campus.

    Marcus Wells, 34, an in-school suspension monitor at Fox Chapel Middle School, was arrested Tuesday on allegations that he sexually battered a student, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office. He was fired by the school district. [Photo courtesy of the Hernando County Sheriff's Office]