Freeport is located in Southeast Texas. It’s about 50 miles northwest of Houston. It has a total area of about thirteen square miles, and more than ten percent of it is water. It’s also very near the Gulf of Mexico. It has three beaches within a few miles of each other, and one beach is maintained as a city park.
Having so much beachfront property is wonderful in the summertime, but it has its downside, however: Freeport is a hurricane magnet. The area has been hit by hurricanes more than 40 times in the last hundred years. Hurricane Ike was the most recent, when it hit approximately 35 miles to the north with 110mph winds. Hurricane force winds extended down to Freeport, causing extensive damage to homes and properties.
After Hurricane Katrina nearly destroyed New Orleans, people are less sanguine about riding out a storm, and more often flee the area or go to shelters when a hurricane threatens. They often don’t think about securing their house, believing that nothing can be done in the force of a hurricane to protect their property. This isn’t true, however. Covering your windows is crucial to protecting your home.
Often plywood and duct tape X’s over their windows is the only thing that people do when a hurricane is imminent. While plywood is better than nothing at all, taped X’s over windows has absolutely no value during a hurricane or a tropical storm. It won’t keep your windows from breaking, and it won’t keep out the rain and debris that you’re sure to get when it does break. And if you just put plywood over your windows, the protection that it provides is negligible. If not fastened down securely, the plywood will simply blow away, and even if it secure, plywood will not stop rubble thrown by high winds or one of the tornadoes that often spring up during hurricanes. You are much better off with hurricane shutters over your windows. Roll-down shutters and other storm shutters have industry standard impact resistance, and they are tested to withstand high winds up to 150 miles per hour. That is at least 5 times the protection that plywood supplies.
If your objection to shutters is the constant putting up and taking down you have to do, there are many kinds of shutters than can be left up all the time. You have a large variety to choose from, as well. Whether you choose accordion shutters, rolling shutters, bahama shutters, or colonial shutters, they all function at about the same level. Which one you choose is more a matter of taste than of safety levels.