When should I put my hurricane shutters up to protect against approaching Dorian?

Dorian’s volatile track has kept Floridians on edge for days.

You’ve got your water. Or tried to get water even though hurricane season is the only time of the year you’ll touch the stuff.

You got your gas. Or waited in a long line only to get frustrated when pumps ran dry as people in Florida scramble to get ahead of Hurricane Dorian.

So now, you’re probably thinking: When do I put up my hurricane shutters? Or have someone else — like my landlord or condo association — do it for me?

The National Hurricane Center answer is you should start to put up storm shutters when a hurricane watch is issued for where you live. Two days ahead of the storm.

Hurricane watches are issued when hurricane conditions are expected to begin in an area within 48 hours.

According to the latest hurricane center advisory at 11 a.m. Sunday, Dorian’s slow march toward Florida could bring hurricane-force winds to the east coast through mid-week, as it’s expected to near the state’s Atlantic Coast late Monday or Tuesday. Though Florida could avoid a direct hit, forecasters predicted, more of the coast is now within the cone of concern.

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Tropical storm watches were extended to Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Lauderdale Lakes, Sunrise, Tamarac, Coral Springs and Coconut Creek. Hurricane watches were now in effect for portions of Central Florida coastal communities, including Volusia and Brevard Counties, and in Deerfield Beach.

A storm surge watch was issued for Palm Beach County, meaning the area could experience life-threatening floods over the next 48 hours.

The storm’s eye could come close to Jupiter in 48 hours, if its current track and speed continue.

At this point, before a watch is issued, you should have your hurricane plans in place, pay attention to whether you are in an evacuation zone or not, and have your supplies in hand.

This would be especially true if you are using plywood or have storm panels you have to put up and screw in.

If you have accordion-type shutters already attached to your house, you should be fine waiting until a watch is issued.

So who is responsible for putting shutters up?

The responsibility can vary widely. If you’re the sole owner of the property and don’t rent or live in a condo association, then it’s on you to protect your home.

If you rent, often your landlord will want to protect their property and may work with you to secure the home. Some condo associations put up shutters. Others leave it to the residents to protect their own units. Check your association’s documents if you aren’t sure — but you were probably made aware of storm policies when you moved in to the community.

A hurricane warning is when hurricane conditions are expected in 36 hours. By this point, you should have your shutters in place.

And masking tape does not protect your windows from hurricane-force winds, and only leaves an unsightly mess if the storm bypasses your neighborhood. So, no tape.

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Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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