Ocean Springs is a city in Jackson County, Mississippi, about 2 miles east of Biloxi. The town was founded in 1699 by the French, and it’s one of the oldest cities in the United States. It’s well known as an artist community, with several art galleries and shops. It has a lovely historic downtown area, and a number of ethnic restaurants.
Because of its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, the area is particularly plagued by hurricanes. In 1969, Hurricane Camille battered the area, damaging the bridge that connected Biloxi and Ocean Springs, and when Hurricane Katrina’s 28-foot storm surge came in, it completely destroyed the Biloxi Bay Bridge. The strong winds and heavy storm surge of Hurricane Katrina affected the entire Mississippi coastal area, and Ocean Springs was no exception. The commercial and historic districts were hit particularly hard, and some are slow to come back. The city is trying to rebuild and improve the city, however; they have even opened a Rebuild Ocean Springs Fund web site.
One lesson that they have learned in Ocean Springs is that hurricane shutters are entirely necessary to protect your home or business when a storm is rolling in. The combination of the pressure changes, high winds and wind-borne debris, and storm surge is a killing alliance, and without protection on your home, you are much more likely to sustain serious damage. Rebuilding homes and businesses require storm shutters right from the start, and it is foolish not to add them.
Some homeowners have traditionally used plywood instead of hurricane shutters, yet plywood does not meet most building codes. This means they are not as safe as permanent storm shutter systems. Another reason not to use them is that you must put them up before the storm, and it generally takes one to one and a half hours per window. You have to drill holes in your stucco, as well, and you must drill new holes each time that you put them up, as using existing holes is not safe.
Permanent storm shutters are a much safer system, and they are much more convenient than putting up and taking down plywood. There are several different kinds of hurricane shutters, and they can be matched to your home’s style and architecture.
Roll-down shutters – convenient, one button rolling shutters that protect your windows
Bahama shutters – Island style, charming shutters attached above windows and provide shade when open, hurricane protection when shut down
Colonial shutters – two-piece louvered shutters that attach to the wall beside each window and fold together to protect your home
Accordion shutters – one or two piece hurricane shutters housed beside windows or doors when not in use that unfold accordion-style to cover and protect during storms
No matter what kind of hurricane shutter that you choose, it is important to protect your home with storm shutters instead of plywood. Not only are they more convenient, they are much safer. They come with impact ratings and wind resistance ratings, and they do a much better job than plywood ever could.