By definition, a hurricane is a powerful tropical storm in which wind speeds exceed 74 miles per hour for an extended period of time. These storms start and gain their momentum over warm ocean waters, but they frequently venture from their watery birthplaces onto dry land. When a hurricane hits land, it can have devastating effects. There are many things that people who are unlucky enough to find their homes in the path of a hurricane can do to minimize the effects of the storm.
What Not to Do
For years it has been reported that people should crack their windows during a hurricane to prevent damage to their houses. The well-meaning people who gave this advice told homeowners that cracking their windows would allow the pressure to equalize and minimize the damage to the house. This advice, however, has since been proven to be unwise. Now well-respected agencies such as the National Weather Service advise homeowners to keep their windows shut tightly. Authorities on the subject now agree that cracking your windows can actually do more harm than good. Winds during a hurricane are never predictable. They constantly vary in intensity and direction. Cracking your windows can allow even more air pressure to build up within your home as the winds whip through your residence. This trapped air will have to escape and can severely damage your home while finding an exit route. Also, cracking your windows can allow more debris to enter your home and damage your property. Currently, scientists agree that cracking your windows during a hurricane is antiquated advice that will not only not help prevent damage, but can actually lead to more destruction.
What to Do
Instead of cracking your windows, you should shutter them or board them up to protect your home from the high winds and flying debris that frequently accompany a hurricane. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, you can get special hurricane-resistant shutters that are made to stand up to the strong hurricane winds. Another option for the conscientious homeowner is the installation of impact-resistant windows. These windows, which look the same as traditional windows, are more able to withstand wind and debris. To prevent damage to your home as far as possible during a hurricane, your aim should be to close up your house, not invite wind in by opening windows.
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.