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Author: Barion McQueen

Barion McQueen is a serial entrepreneur and branding specialist with years of hands-on experience in helping aspiring startups pave their way to professional career success. He also serves as a business consultant who excels in the art of building positive brand identity with effective social media campaigns & digital marketing strategies. He is an avid seeker of knowledge and a zealous author/speaker who pens down his professional insights to direct aspiring young entrepreneurs.

Understanding How Are Hurricanes Formed Step by Step?

We’re all familiar with hurricanes, their dangers, categories, names, and so on. Yet few of us truly understand what’s going on when we’re watching news coverage of a hurricane. So, in this article, we thought we’d give you a closer look at how a hurricane evolves, along with the passage of time.

This is something we feel everyone should be familiar with, particularly if you live in an area that is prone to heavy storms and hurricanes, such as Florida. Also, if you live in such places, where hurricanes are likely to happen, we urge you to keep an eye out and have an emergency plan of what to do in case of a hurricane. We also recommend installing hurricane impact windows and insuring your property against hurricane damage. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Right, so how are hurricanes formed?

Hurricanes usually begin with a storm. Step 1 will usually be classified by experts as a “tropical disturbance”, which is basically a codeword for a storm that lasts for more than 24 hours, and spreads across at least 100 miles.

They will usually hail from the African coast, moving steadily towards the west, in the form of tropical waves. Usually, it’s meteorologists who will keep an eye on such developments. If experts believe that a disturbance is likely to spiral into something more, they will investigate the situation.

Step 2 begins when the storm starts interacting with the ocean below. Since the ocean is warmer than the storm, it will cause warm air to rise towards the tropical disturbance. The warm air will steadily begin to evaporate and spin, and then cool progressively, forming a cyclone (also referred to as a tropical depression). As the low pressure of the spinning cumulus continues to suck in adjacent air, the cyclone will grow bigger and more dangerous.

The 3rd step of the process takes place when the pressure at the core of the tropical depression tanks, thus giving rise to strong winds. By attracting strong winds, the tropical depression shifts to a tropical storm, and this is when people begin to be truly wary of it. It’s also when the storm is given its very own name.

Step 4 is basically a worse version of Step 3. As the tropical storm progresses, it can either become subdued, or the pressure can drop even further (which usually happens if the storm passes over a bit of warm water), causing stronger and stronger winds to form. At this stage, what began as a tropical disturbance is officially classified as a hurricane. Naturally, the hurricane will then be categorized on a scale from 1 to 5, depending on how serious the damage extent is (this can range from mild – Category 1 – to catastrophic – Categories 4 and 5).

Obviously, the way a tropical disturbance evolves is determined by a variety of factors, such as pressure, ocean heat, and so many others. But it’s a good idea not to overlook news of a tropical disturbance or storm, as these can quite easily spiral into a hurricane.

How Are Hurricanes Categorized?

Right now, we are in full hurricane season, which is bad news for many along the East Coast, who tend to be most at risk of heavy storms. Hurricane season typically begins on June 1st and lasts all the way until the 30th of November. So, there’s still a bit to go yet, which is why we thought it would be a good idea to talk a bit about how hurricanes are categorized.

We’re all used to hearing that so-and-so hurricane is Category 1,2,3, and so on. And we’re told that the higher the category, the worse the hurricane, and the more protection we need for our homes and ourselves.

But how are hurricanes categorized exactly, and what does each category mean?

Category 1

This is the mildest type of hurricane out there. It will usually tear down some trees, cause a bit of damage to the exterior of your home, and potentially your roof. Category 1 hurricanes are also often associated with flooding, and extensive damage to mobile homes, cars, and so on. They usually involve winds in the 74 – 95 MPH range, which is normally associated with minimal damage.

Category 2

Category 2 is used to signify extensive damage, with winds ranging from 96 to 110 MPH. This type of hurricane poses a more serious threat to homes, and can cause major external damage, as well as significantly impact your roof. It goes without saying that mobile homes and the like are even more affected, trees are more likely to be torn out of the ground, and the chances of heavy flooding are pretty high. Category 2 hurricanes can also result in power outages over large areas.

Category 3

Hurricanes in Category 3 range from 111 to 130 MPH, in terms of wind, and are classified as devastating damage. Typically, hurricanes Category 3 and up are considered major, and treated as a serious risk. They often cause serious damage to smaller buildings and homes and obliterate mobile homes altogether.

Category 4

From 131 to 155 MPH, Category 4 hurricanes are labeled as catastrophic, and are associated with roof collapse, major damage even to tall buildings, and serious flooding (as many of these will extend up to 13 feet). It’s also not uncommon for Category 4 hurricanes to extend inland quite heavily.

Category 5

Lastly, Category 5 hurricanes are also labeled as catastrophic, in terms of damage, and go from 156 MPH and up. Wind damage extends even further into the mainland, and you can expect heavy flooding to lower levels less than 15 feet above sea level. Trees usually don’t stand a chance, and entire buildings can be torn down.

What to do…

It’s important that you are prepared in the face of hurricanes. If you live in high-risk areas, we recommend taking all possible precautions (e.g., installing impact windows, ensuring your roofs in good condition, etc.) before you are facing a hurricane. Don’t overlook smaller scale hurricanes, as these can also cause extensive damage.

Understanding The Cost Breakdown of Hurricane Impact Windows

You’ve probably heard it said that it’s a good idea to put in impact windows, if you don’t already have them on your property. The idea behind hurricane impact windows is that they are more resistant and thus better able to protect you, your family, and your home in the face of a natural disaster. On top of that, impact windows have many other benefits, and are overall a smart choice for homeowners, particularly if you live in a hurricane-prone area.

However, one major downside for many is that hurricane impact windows tend to be really expensive. So, in this article, we thought we’d take a look at that, and clue you in as to why impact windows are so costly.

How much do hurricane impact windows cost?

The price of hurricane impact windows depends on many things, such as materials used, installation, area, and so on. Usually, one single hurricane impact window can cost as little as $100, or as much as $600, not considering installation costs. So, depending on the size of your home, installing hurricane windows can really cost you a pretty penny (and by that, we mean a good few thousand dollars).

But why are impact windows so expensive?

Well, as we mentioned, there are a bunch of different factors that determine the cost of your hurricane windows, so let’s look at some of them.

1.   Security.

First of all, you need to keep in mind that you’re not paying for any regular window here, but for one that has a hoard of benefits to its name. Impact windows will not only protect your home from disaster, but they will also keep you safe from burglars, reduce outside noise, and increase the overall real estate value of your home if you decide to sell. So, in many ways, impact windows are a long-term investment, one that provides a serious security upgrade for you and your loved ones.

2.   Type of window.

Obviously, another important aspect is the type of window you’re looking for. Impact windows come in many different styles – single-hung, double-hung, horizontal roller, the list goes on and on. Naturally, the more complex your window type, the more costly it will get.

3.   Size of your opening.

It stands to reason that a full-wall window will cost more than a small, circular one, right? So, when examining the cost of your impact windows, also take a look at the size of your home, and the size of the windows you need.

4.   Installation.

When paying for your impact windows, you also need to keep in mind that installation takes time and effort. For each impact window that your home will need, you’ll also need to factor in the installation process. Now, some manufacturers include this in the price, and others keep it separate.

In any case, it’s a good idea to take all of these aspects into account when researching the impact windows market. This will help give you a better idea about why these windows cost what they do.

How Much Does Impact Windows Increase a Home’s Value?

It’s normal for any smart property owner to constantly be on the lookout for little improvements that might increase the value of their home, for when they decide to sell.  A little-known fact is that hurricane impact windows are among the best home improvements you could add to your home, both for the moment, and in the long-term. So yes, the first and most obvious benefit of impact windows is that they will protect you and your loved ones in the face of a natural disaster. But they’ll also do more than that – they act as effective noise reduction, boost security, and increase the value of your home.

But by how much?

Well, the question is a bit more complex than that and unfortunately, no one can give you an exact figure as an answer to this question. Why? Because while impact windows are a very valuable addition to your home, they don’t automatically increase the value itself.

Rather, hurricane impact windows will constitute a major selling point when you do decide to put your current home on the market. Why is that? Well, a bunch of reasons, actually.

First of all, there’s the obvious safety factor. Buyers will feel more inclined to put trust in a home that is secured against natural disasters, especially if you live in a hurricane-prone area such as Florida.

Then, there’s the cost. There’s no secret, impact windows can be a very costly addition to your home (one that, we feel, is totally worth it). And it’s natural for potential buyers to also consider additional costs, in terms of what they’d like added to the property. If your home already has impact windows installed, you’re taking a major load off their shoulders.

Impact windows also come with many additional benefits, as mentioned, such as noise reduction and increased security (they offer better protection in case of a burglary or other similar incidents). Potential buyers will also consider this when looking at your property, and it can justify a higher price than would be expected.

Lastly, it also depends on who you’re selling to. While some will view hurricane protection as a must (particularly if you’re addressing a luxury market), others will be fine with or without them. So really, it also pays to think a little about your potential future buyers.

So, to answer our title question, will hurricane windows add value to your home?

Certainly. And they can constitute a major selling point, which could justify a higher selling price when you decide to part with your home. However, impact windows won’t work miracles, and usually won’t allow you to ask tens of thousands more dollars if your home isn’t worth it.

That being said, the added real estate value is only one small aspect of impact windows. They should still be a necessity for any home, particularly those that exist in high-risk areas. It’s not even about real estate, it’s about your safety first.

How Are Impact Windows Installed?

Installing hurricane impact windows on your property might easily be one of the smartest moves you ever make. First of all, hurricane impact windows are there for one reason – to protect you and your home from natural disasters (among other things). Not only that, but they also serve as effective noise reduction and will greatly increase the overall value of your home if you decide to sell in the future. This is why, if your property isn’t equipped with hurricane impact windows already, you should see to it.

And to help you with that, we thought we’d describe the installation process, just to put you at ease about what this implies. Generally, people tend to assume that installing impact windows is somehow way more complicated than installing regular ones. In truth, it’s just the windows that are more resistant, while the installation process is pretty much the same.  But you have to educate customers that it still is construction.  So, there will be dust and noise because you are in a work zone.  But this is where great preparation, dust walls, pre-planning comes into place from the installers.

1.  Removing regular windows.

Obviously, the first thing the installer will do will be to safely remove the regular windows, without damaging them or the wall structure itself. This isn’t an overly complex process and usually won’t take that much time to complete, provided it’s done properly. Once the regular windows have been safely removed, they should be placed out of the way, to ensure that the installation process for the impact windows goes smoothly.

2.  Dry fitting.

The next step in your window installation process is to dry fit your impact windows. Dry fitting implies mounting the windows into the frame hole, without applying any sealing products. This of course is done after your have replaced the woodbucking where the framing is to ensure you are anchoring to quality framing. This will ensure that the impact windows are a snug fit and are firmly in place, which will also ensure resistance in the face of a hurricane. Once you’ve finished your dry fitting and are sure that the windows are a good fit, make sure to remove them from the frame space before moving on to the next step.

3.  Sealing.

Next, you’ll want to apply your sealant to the exterior flange of the frame. Make sure you use an approved sealant, to ensure stability. You want to invest in this process rather than suffer the consequences later on. After the sealant is applied, you want to delicately fit in, shim if necessary and screw in the window itself.

4.  Caulking.

With new windows, there’s always a risk of improper fitting, which would then allow air to squeeze through the holes and endanger your home (particularly in case of a natural disaster). This is why it would be a wise move to also apply special silicone caulking to your window frame, to ensure it’s airtight, and benefits from improved stability.

Should you call a professional or install the windows yourself?

Technically, installing impact windows isn’t an overly complicated process which you could easily do yourself (though you’ll probably need to enlist the help of a friend). However, if you don’t have much DIY, home repair experience, you’re probably better off hiring a proper, professional impact window installation service. This is something that they specialize in and depending on your local guidelines and permit process, hiring a licensed general contractor or glass and glazing company should be your only option.  Because this is actual construction, this is not something you should be doing as a DIY project. Remember, the goal here is security, not saving a quick buck!

 

 

Can Hurricane Impact Windows Stop a Bullet?

Hurricane Impact Windows are pretty much a necessity for people living in at-risk areas, such as Florida (particularly Southern Florida). In such places, hurricane impact windows are made mandatory in many areas, as the only viable way for a property to withstand the many vicious storms and hurricanes the state has seen down the years.

So, if you’re in this situation, you may already own impact resistant windows, which is all great for you. But you might be wondering what else these windows can stop. It’s a well-known fact that hurricane windows also act as great soundproofing, capturing a lot of outside noise, and all in all creating a more peaceful indoor atmosphere.

But what about home security?

Unfortunately, gun violence is a very real problem all over the United States, with many neighborhoods experiencing gunshots as an everyday happening. Naturally, this has prompted many homeowners to wonder if their hurricane impact window might save them from a speeding bullet.

How impact windows work…

In order to answer that question, we need to first look at what hurricane impact windows are, exactly, and how they work. You see, in spite of popular belief, hurricane windows aren’t about “stopping” the wind itself, but rather, not breaking upon impact.

Impact windows are made of two separate sheets of laminated glass, held together by a thin film of resin. It is precisely this resin sheet that prevents the window from breaking, upon impact, and thus stops the glass from shattering into a million pieces that go all over the place.

So, can a hurricane window stop a bullet?

The short answer is, no, hurricane windows do not stop a bullet for one simple reason – they’re not designed with that purpose in mind. If you think about it, there is quite a noticeable difference between a flying projectile (aka a bullet), and a strong wind, in the way they both impact a window.

While hurricane resistant windows are designed to withstand harsh winds, they are not designed to stop a single, flying projectile, and so can’t be counted on to protect your family against bullets.

However, there are alternatives if gun violence is an issue and concern for you and yours. If you’re looking for a glass that’s capable of stopping a bullet, you’ll want to go for a more solid type of laminated glass, or alternatively, with acrylic. You need something solid enough that, when hit by a bullet, it will absorb the projectile, causing it to remain stuck in the glass, rather than bump off of the glass.

All in all, bulletproof glass tends to be much thicker and denser than hurricane impact glass, as the two are designed with different purposes in mind. In any case, if you’re worried about impact (be it that of a strong wind or a bullet), the best thing to do is reach out to your impact window manufacturer or give us a call (561) 800-2419. We’ll be able to guide you towards the best type of window for your property.

What You Need to Know About Hurricane Season in Florida

It’s a well-known fact that Florida is one of the most affected states, when it comes to hurricanes, among other natural disasters. But unless you are a Florida native, this might come across as a little tricky to you. Or perhaps you just wonder what it’s like to live in an area with such constant cause for concern.

That’s why in this article, we’re setting out to explain Florida hurricane season in a brief, succinct manner.

When is hurricane season, exactly?

Hurricane season takes place in Florida each year, and it officially commences on the 1st of June, and ends on November 30th. Although there is a high chance of hurricanes all throughout these six months, hurricane season usually peaks around mid-August through early October. Around this time, the tropical system is further agitated by the warm waters, which increase the chances of a vicious storm.

This is one thing that most Florida tourists are concerned about – is there a time during hurricane season when hurricanes are more likely to happen? After all, we’re looking at a whopping six months of every year.

And although many of the larger scale hurricanes (usually marked category 3 and above) have been known to hit Florida in September or October, there have been exceptions to this rule. Although the Okeechobee Hurricane and the Miami Hurricane both took place in September, Hurricanes Andrew, and Katrina both hit in late August.

This is why you need to be prepared.

The state of Florida has very strict regulations about housing because of the many natural disasters it has witnessed over the years. For example, these rules specify that homes need to be equipped with impact resistant windows, and other amenities to improve their chances of “surviving” a natural disaster.

Many of the worst hurricanes to hit Florida down the years received little or no warning, which in the end, lead to the deaths of far too many people. This is why nowadays; experts are extra vigilant. And you should be, also. It’s advised that you stock up on food and water, as well as lanterns, and other portable lighting and heating devices.

You also need to understand the difference between staying indoors during a storm or choosing to evacuate. It can be enough for many Florida residents to move only a few miles to avoid flooding, but that, of course, carries its own set of cons.

Familiarize yourself with different storm categories.

We use a system to delimitate the aggressiveness of any storm, which means many people are tempted to underestimate the lower categories. Granted that all the “major” hurricanes have been a Category 3 or above, with the famous Hurricane Andrew making it all the way to Category 5.

But that’s not to say that a Category 1 hurricane is something to dismiss easily. The best way to deal with hurricane season in Florida is to be perennially prepared and know what you must do in case of a serious storm.

Top 5 Worst Hurricanes in the U.S.

Hurricanes are no laughing matter, and it’s no secret that the United States of America have seen some of the most vicious hurricanes of all time. In this article, we’ll talk a bit about the very worst hurricanes that the U.S. has seen down the years.

It’s worth keeping in mind that hurricanes are evaluated based on a bunch of different factors – total death toll, wreckage, cost of repair, and so on. So, these hurricanes each had something unique to define it as perhaps the largest hurricane to hit the U.S.

The Great Galveston Hurricane (1900)

1.  The Great Galveston Hurricane (1900)

The Great Galveston Hurricane might not catch the eye in terms of size, but it’s definitely the deadliest hurricane to hit the United States, causing the death of between 8,000 and 12,000 people.

The Category 4 hurricane hit the coast of Galveston, Texas without any warning on the night of September 8th, 1900. Because of this, few people managed to act quickly enough, which explains the hurricane’s massive casualties.

Hurricane Katrina (2005)

2.  Hurricane Katrina (2005)

Hurricane Katrina is definitely the worst of its type, at least in recent memory, having achieved worldwide fame, even now, more than 15 years after the event. While Hurricane Katrina was not the deadliest, causing a little over 1,500 deaths in total, it was definitely the costliest.

All in all, Katrina caused massive damage to the Gulf coast, totaling $108 billion in damages alone. It was also responsible for the spill of over 10,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, making it one of the worst natural disasters in the past 50 years.

 

The Miami Hurricane (1926)

 

3.  The Miami Hurricane (1926)

Similarly, to the Great Galveston Hurricane, the Miami one gave the population very little time for preparations (with a warning being issued less than 24 hours before the storm made landfall). That, together with Miami’s insane popularity in the 1920s, made the Miami Hurricane one of the grizzliest in recent memory.

But perhaps the worst part was that for about 30 minutes, during the storm, the skies cleared, leading many to assume that the storm was over. Encouraged by the clear skies, many left their homes and were caught outside when the hurricane hit, causing a total of 372 deaths, and over 6,000 people injured.

The Okeechobee Hurricane (1928)

4.  The Okeechobee Hurricane (1928)

Only two years after the Miami Hurricane, came the Okeechobee, this time in the southern part of Florida. Another Category 4 storm, the Okeechobee Hurricane was responsible for the destruction of no less than 1,711 homes (costing an impressive $100 million in damages).

Known as one of the deadliest and most destructive hurricanes of U.S. history, the Okeechobee Hurricane saw the deaths of over 4,000 people.

Hurricane Andrew (1992)

5.  Hurricane Andrew (1992)

Last but not least, Hurricane Andrew went down in the country’s history as one of the most destructive and intense hurricanes, making its way as a Category 5 storm, when it hit Florida.

The famed Hurricane Andrew was responsible for a whopping $26.5 billion in damage and led to the deaths of 65 people. Furthermore, it caused the death of 187 million freshwater fish, and tore over 70,000 trees down.

Hurricane Windows: What Happens When There’s a Hurricane?

We often hear about the many benefits of hurricane windows, and most of them are largely true. Depending on the area you live in, putting in impact windows can turn out to be a very clever decision, for you, the homeowner.

For example, in the United States, the state of Florida is infamous for its vicious hurricane and strong weather. So, if you’re a Florida homeowner, you’ll probably want to install impact-resistant windows, if your home doesn’t have them, already.

Tip: Since local Florida regulations suggest that each home needs impact windows, you may want to check with the previous owner, in case yours might be equipped with resistant windows already.

In any case, we’ll assume you’ve done that already, and that the windows are safely in your walls. Now what?

A lot of homeowners are curious to see what happens when hurricane does arrive. Or, saving that, a really hefty storm. As with any acquisition, we want to make sure that our investment was worthwhile.

So, what happens to hurricane-resistant windows when there’s an actual hurricane?

First of all, you need to understand why hurricane resistant windows are different from traditional windows. See, these specially designed windows are much sturdier. Where traditional windows are simply made of glass, hurricane-resistant ones are actually made up of two different sheets of tempered or heat strengthened glass, held together by a resin interlayer.

So, from the get-go, we’re looking at a much sturdier window. This is also great news for you, the property owner, because the tempered glass will also improve your home’s insulation during extreme weather.

However, although hurricane-resistant windows are far stronger and more resistant than your traditional window, that doesn’t mean they’re unbreakable. Unfortunately, that would be much more difficult to obtain, and much more difficult.

When a hurricane hits, everything relies on the severity of the situation. For example, a minor hurricane will definitely not blow out your impact windows, so you don’t have to worry about that.

Your impact windows won’t break in most cases during a hurricane. Again, that’s because they’re made of two sheets of tempered glass that’s highly resistant, unlike traditional windows. However, in a strong enough hurricane, even an impact window may break.  I think the biggest misconception is that people think they are getting hurricane proof windows and that is not true.  What you are getting is hurricane resistant windows.

But that’s the interesting bit. Because this is where that layer of resin comes in, and ultimately, saves the day. So that, even if your impact windows do crack during a hurricane, the shards of broken glass won’t go flying about the house. Obviously, this is a huge safety risk, one that impact window manufacturers have cleverly learned to prevent.

The resin keeps the glass attached, even if the window itself has cracked. So that even if a strong hurricane hits and damages your impact window, the damage will be easily contained, and won’t unnecessarily endanger you and your loved ones.

To wrap it up…

What happens during a hurricane? With your impact windows closed, hopefully not much. But rest assured that even if the windows do break, you and your loved ones are safe.

Does Your Business Need Impact Windows?

We’ll tell you right off the bat – if you live or work in Florida, or the Florida area, then yes. Regardless of the type of property, it probably would be an incredibly wise decision to install hurricane impact windows sooner rather than later. Why’s that? Because as any native or Florida business knows, Florida is home to a lot of strong, vicious winds, and hurricanes. These take place roughly each year, which is why authorities have taken serious steps towards ensuring that people are protected.

And while people often think about their homes when installing hurricane impact windows, they forget to also consider their place of work.

So, here’s why your Florida business also needs impact windows…

1.  First of all, there may be a legal reason.

Since Florida is the setting of so many hurricanes and natural disasters, local regulations have been often amended and tweaked to protect residents. This is why the state of Florida now performs regular property check-ups, during which they also inspect the state of the windows.

This means that if your Florida business doesn’t meet these standards (e.g., doesn’t have impact windows), then you may be at risk. What’s more, your building may also endanger innocents, which is why the state is taking such an active hand in this issue.

2.  Impact windows will save you energy in the long run.

As an employer and business owner, it is your duty to ensure the wellbeing of your employees. For many employers, this means spending precious thousands of dollars on electric bills. If you’re working in hot temperatures, you’ll need to keep the A/C on permanently, to ensure your employees can work in these conditions.

Similarly, during the winter, you probably have to keep the central heating turned on, to keep your employees all warm and cozy. These things may not seem like much now, but they add up.

Impact windows, however, contribute to your building’s insulating properties. That means they keep the cold out in the winter, and the heat out in the summer, thus reducing your energy bills by quite a bit.

3.  Impact windows offer improved security.

As a place of business, you need to have some contingencies in place, in the case of theft. You need to ensure that company goods are insured and protected from thieves. But why not protect the goods themselves?

Because impact windows don’t just keep strong wind out, but also burglars. And thus, by reducing the risk of you getting robbed, impact windows can help safeguard your business.

4.  They’re good, insurance-wise.

Obviously, all businesses need to be insured, and that includes the building you work in. When you install hurricane impact windows, you’re automatically increasing the overall value of your property by a substantial amount. This means that when the time comes for you to get your building insured, you may get a better insurance deal if you have hurricane windows.

See? Impact windows are the only smart choice for your Florida business.

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