Forecasters predict a "very active" 2005 hurricane season, with 15 named tropical storms and eight hurricanes likely.
Hurricane season continues until Nov. 20. Homeowners living in hurricane-prone regions of the country are being encouraged to prepare windows and doors for potential high winds and severe storms.
Yet, according to the Tropical Meteorology Project (TMP) forecast team at Colorado State University, 2005 will likely not produce hurricane activity as severe as the extraordinary 2004 hurricane season.
"Residents along the East Coast should not expect the high number of landfalling major hurricanes or the unprecedented level of destruction to be the norm for this or future years," the forecast team notes. "However, as last year made it entirely too clear, citizens along the eastern seaboard should always be prepared for landfalling hurricanes."
It's estimated that the four destructive hurricanes making landfall in the United States last year - three of which crossed the Florida peninsula - caused more than $40 billion in damage.
"There are many critical proactive efforts a homeowner can take to help weather the storm," said Pella Corporation spokesperson Kathy Krafka Harkema. "With the right planning and materials, financial loss can be minimized, homes can be preserved and life can resume to normal more quickly after a hurricane."
Hurricane high points*
What constitutes the difference between a hurricane or a tropical storm? Check out these facts:
A storm is classified as a "tropical storm" and is named when it has winds of more than 39 mph. If the wind speed reaches 74 mph or greater the storm is classified a hurricane.
A major hurricane or Category 3 or higher storm has winds between 111-130 mph and can cause extensive damage.
A Category 5 storm, the worst possible, has winds greater than 155 mph and can cause catastrophic damage. Wind resistant windows and doors
Home and business owners don't have to resort to a reactive mode this hurricane season. By taking the most important precaution that will reduce damage to the property - protecting the areas where wind can enter - property owners can help weather the storm.
If you're building, rebuilding or remodeling a building, now is the best time to start securing – or retrofitting – the structure with hurricane safeguards while critical buying decisions are made.
"We are often asked whether masking tape or any other type of tape placed across glass will provide protection against storm debris – the unequivocal answer is NO," according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS).
Other band-aid approaches, such as window film or safety film added after the window or door is manufactured, to protect against winds experienced in hurricanes will simply not adequately protect glass in windows or doors.
According to the IBHS, a homeowner in a hurricane-prone area should always purchase a window or door product which has been tested and certified as passing impact-resistant standards.
"Impact-resistant windows and doors are capable of resisting damage from large objects and, therefore, precautions such as temporary shutters are often unnecessary," says the IBHS.
Get to know DP ratings
The latest building codes that require higher design pressure (DP) ratings for windows, such as the 2001 Florida Building Code, were put to the test with the 2004 hurricanes.
DP requirements for a specific home are dependent on many factors, including the wind speed zone in which a home is built, the home's exposure to elements, where a window is placed within a home and the home's height.
Some DP rating claims may refer only to particular elements of a window, such as a window's glazing, while others will refer to an entire window unit. Homeowners need to be familiar with the DP ratings required for their area, and use windows with a whole-product DP rating that meets or exceeds those requirements.
"All across Florida, homes brought up to the standards of the new building code or built to those standards initially have performed as required during our storms of the past year, while homes that did not meet code were generally the ones to suffer the most damage," said Greg Bevan, trade sales manager for Pella in Orlando, Fla.
Experts agree that structures built to meet or exceed current hurricane building code provisions have a much better chance of surviving violent storms.
Building above code
Last year, Jerry and Linda Schwartzenburg built a home just off the beach on Ono Island, Alabama. Building codes requiring impact-resistant windows were not yet implemented for their area; however, they chose to build their home to Florida's coastal codes and install Pella windows and patio doors with HurricaneShield® glass designed to help weather severe storms.
"We chose the Pella impact-resistant windows because of the convenience of not having to have the windows boarded or shuttered, the year-round safety and the added resale value," said Schwartzenburg.
When Hurricane Ivan threatened their home, Schwartzenburg admitted he had reservations about not boarding the windows.
"That's just how we think here," said Schwartzenburg. "Our neighbors and builder friends said I was crazy, but they've thought I was crazy about the way we've built the house, too."
Although the Schwartzenburg's neighbors' homes sustained major damage, the only real damage to their home was on the exterior where a few ceiling fans blew off a second story porch.
"The windows held up fine," said Schwartzenburg. "We're very pleased with the Pella windows and the protection they provided."
Pella's product utilizes laminated glass with an advanced polymer technology – providing a layer of protection to help keep the building intact, even in the fiercest winds. The secret is the technology that sandwiches an ionoplast layer between two layers of glass.
The result is a laminated glass that offers 100 times the rigidity and five times the tear resistance of a commonly used impact-resistant laminated glass.
Pella's HurricaneShield solution
In addition to reliability and durability, Pella's impact-resistant windows and doors offer natural beauty, ease of use and the following features:
Available with seacoast-worthy, low maintenance aluminum exteriors and natural wood interiors, Pella Architect Series® casement windows with HurricaneShield glass feature Pella's exclusive fold-away crank, which protects window treatments from excessive wear.
Stainless steel operating hardware which resists rust and corrosion - even in demanding seacoast environments - and is a standard feature on Pella casement windows.
Higher design pressure ratings, the ability to block virtually 100 percent of UV rays and up to two layers of clear, tinted or Low-E glazing to provide superior energy efficiency.
An option only available from Pella, new SentryGlas®Plus from DuPont, a benchmark in the industry with its unprecedented ability to withstand high winds.
Copyright 2005 by Space Daily, Distributed by United Press International