Floridians Are Full Of False Advice On Hurricanes

Another hurricane is heading toward the Florida East Coast.  Historically October is Florida’s worse hurricane month and the Fall months far surpass the Summer for serious hurricanes.

It was 2004 when Florida got nailed by four big hurricanes, but myths and bad advice about hurricanes seem to given to newcomers by long time Florida residents as well as snowbirds.   So here are some hurricane notions that you’ll soon hear if you travel Florida from May to late November:

Leave one window slightly open when a hurricane approaches.

This myth came from Tornado Alley people (Oklahoma, Texas) and it is false for both hurricanes and tornados.  Maybe people once believed that air pressure difference between the storm and the inside of your house will prevent your house from exploding.  Your house will only explode if a giant flying projectile (like your neighbor’s car) comes smashing through your front door.


Hurricane hits Davis Island in Tampa Bay

Tape all your windows up with masking tape to prevent breakage.

Believe it or not this dumb trick might even result in more broken glass of smaller windows. The only way to prevent broken windows is to cover them completely with wood or buy professional metal hurricane boards.


Stay away from water

Fill up the bathtub with water.

 Just today I heard a person on the Weather Channel report, “Many Miami stores have run out of bottled water, so fill up your bathtub.”   Unless you have the proper equipment for purifying water, bathtub water should be used for washing your body and clothing and dishes.  Drinking bath water is not a good idea.

Category 1 storms are no big deal.

 The five categories of hurricane created by the National Hurricane Center are based upon wind at the center of the storm, but the danger of a storm is: (1) where your house is in reference to the center of the hurricane, and (2) which way the wind and storm is coming.


More people are killed by storm surge than hurricane winds.   A Category 1 storm going into a large bay like Tampa Bay or Charlotte Harbor will send a great water surge at the bay coastline and would be worse than a big hurricane going 100 miles out from the coast.

Sand bags will keep the water out of my house.

Sand bags might be effective for a few inches of water and if the water recedes.  Water will eventually seep through sand bags and sand bags never stopped flood waters.  An L-shaped thick plastic going up your wall a few feet and under the sand bags will be the most effective way of using sand bags.


Although it is a pain to scrap off, sealing your doors and lower walls with the white foam stuff that seals out water is fairly effective.  It can also get a little expensive.

I can also go to a storm shelter; they have everything.

Most of Florida’s shelters are in high ground schools and public buildings.  They have limited amounts of food, blankets, and medical supplies.  They do not provide beds and entertainment.  Those places are called hotels.

My screened in swimming pool will protect my sliding glass doors.

 Putting lawn furniture and garbage cans on a porch or even inside a screened pool area will not prevent them from flying around when the screens get shopped up by flying tree limbs.  Anything that could fly around should be inside the garage, a storage room, and even inside the house.  Safe is better than neat.

About floridatraveler

Historian and travel writer M. C. Bob Leonard makes the Sunshine State his home base. Besides serving as content editor for several textbook publishers and as an Emeritus college professor, he moderates the FHIC at www.floridahistory.org
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