The week before last, I was battling minor anxiety and major amounts of texts imploring me to get the hell out of
Dodge Daytona Beach. Hurricane Matthew threatened to make landfall right on top of us, and, this being my first real hurricane, I was excited to ride it out like the Salt Lifers. I was also reading everything I could find on hurricane prep so I could make a smart decision on whether to leave or not. The Justy played a surprise role in getting the house ready for high-energy winds, but I thankfully didn’t have to call on the canoe.
When Hurricane Andrew ripped through Florida in 1992, it was the most destructive one in the United States’ recorded history. Matthew was threatening to be similar in size and strength, and it looked to be headed straight for Florida’s North Coast after putting major hurt on Haiti (the nation is still reeling from this disaster, just 6 years after the devastating earthquake there).
I had been hoping Matthew would veer out to the ocean like all the others that threatened us since I’ve been here, but the stores were out of plywood long before I decided to board up. Fortunately, I keep a lot of scrap wood in my shed, including cabinet and closet doors. I spent a day with my good buddy Walt (pictured above) and a box of Tapcons. Corded drills can be a hassle, but they’re torquey, and excellent for big projects.
But one thing I discovered in all my reading is that garage doors are a surprise point of failure for many people. It makes sense: garage doors have a lot of surface area, and they’re not often the sturdiest things. They’re also not something you generally think about. When blown in, a garage door is a major water intrusion point.
Mine is the two-car size, making it extra vulnerable, and it is not equipped with a hurricane brace. I talked it over with my wife and she came up with a genius idea: We have some long, 4-inch posts in our scrap wood pile. I could hold one up against the garage door and back the Justy up to it. A rubber bungee cord would keep it from wiggling free. I was satisfied.
We were out of power for five days, which is why the photos above were lit by gas lantern. I heard while I was at work that we had power again on Tuesday afternoon, so I rushed home. I had already removed the post from behind the door while cleaning up after the storm. The first thing I did with electricity was open the garage door.
I’m thankful we had no damage to our home or cars. Many people, especially in Haiti, weren’t so lucky. Here’s how you can help.
[Photos & video copyright 2016 Alan Cesar | Hooniverse]