9 Hurricane Myths Debunked to Mark National Hurricane Awareness Week

For as long as hurricanes have been around, there have been myths predicting how and when they will occur, what category they will become, and bizarre rituals that will safeguard you and your home.

The rumor mill swirled so viciously around 2017’s Hurricane Irma, that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had to set the record straight about false reports.

Here are nine myths about hurricanes that have been proven wrong, along with the corresponding facts.

Myth 1:
Hurricanes can exceed Category 5.

According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale classifications of a hurricane do not exceed Category 5, no matter how strong a storm’s winds become.

Myth 2:
Taping an X over your windows will keep them from breaking.

Taping a big X over your windows won’t prevent them from breaking during a hurricane, nor will it keep flying debris from blasting through the glass and into your home. According to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), installing storm shutters over windows and glass doors is the best protection. In a pinch, you can ward off damage by nailing temporary plywood boards over the glass.

Myth 3:
Opening doors will stabilize air pressure inside the house.

Many people believe that opening doors or windows during a hurricane—a myth frequently applied to tornadoes as well—will stabilize the air pressure between the house’s interior and exterior, thus warding off damage. But in fact, NOAA cautions that not only will this do nothing to balance air pressure, but it will also leave your home even more susceptible to flying debris and flooding.

Myth 4:
Not all home insurance policies cover everything.

Standard homeowners insurance policies typically don’t include coverage for valuable jewelry, artwork, other collectibles, identity theft protection, or damage caused by an earthquake or a flood. If you live in a particularly high-risk area, research policies are offered directly by the National Flood Insurance Program, administered by FEMA.

Myth 5:
An early start to hurricane season means the season will be bad, and a late start means things will be calm.

The Atlantic hurricane season is June 1st to November 30th. In the East Pacific, it runs from May 15th to November 30th. Experts warn not to assume there’s less risk just because the first months of hurricane season have been calm. It only takes one bad storm to make a hurricane memorable.

Myth 6:
Storing valuables in a dishwasher will guard them from floodwater damage.

The idea behind this popular myth is that because a dishwasher is great at keeping water from escaping, it could also help prevent floodwaters from rushing inside. However, despite being touted as a handy tip by a number of social media users and media outlets, this so-called hurricane hack could potentially ruin your belongings. If your home floods, then experts say so can your dishwasher.

Myth 7:
Only homes and communities on the coast need to be worried when a hurricane is approaching.  

Some hurricanes can create strong winds within an area with a 1,000-mile diameter. Although they lose power when they make landfall, they can still bring incredible destruction with them, reaching hundreds of miles inland. 

Myth 8:
Hurricanes move slowly, so you have plenty of time to evacuate.

Whether or not an evacuation order has been issued, if a hurricane could potentially strike your community, it is essential to evacuate well in advance of its arrival. Although the storm surge often peaks when the storm makes landfall it is possible for the waters to rise and flood your community hours beforehand. Additionally, evacuation routes can easily become congested to the point of shutting down completely, simply due to the volume of people trying to leave simultaneously. 

Myth 9:
A mobile home with tie-downs is a safe place to ride out a storm

If you own a mobile home, it’s a good idea to have straps, or tie-downs, that secure the building to anchors. However, even when tied down a mobile home is not a safe place to ride out a hurricane. If a mandatory evacuation is ordered all mobile home residents should head for a shelter.

To prepare for Atlantic Hurricane Season kicking off in June, check out our hurricane preparedness tips.

When hurricanes hit, ALE is on the ground within 24 hours. Our “Boots on the Ground” strategy allows us to secure properties and hotel rooms on a “first come, first served” basis. Click here for more information.


Latest Posts

Click to access the login or register cheese